Political parties that completed the process of interviewing candidates for nomination have ramped up efforts to finalize their lists of candidates for Parliament.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has completed the first round of interviews of 7,039 people. So far, 2,100 applicants for candidacy have been selected to be evaluated by the upper committee, which includes AK Party Chairman and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to finalize the party's list of 600 candidates.
According to the election calendar, the parties are expected to submit their lists of candidates to the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) by 17: 00 pm on May 21. The final candidacy lists for Parliament will be announced on May 30.
On June 24, the country will hold both parliamentary and presidential elections.
A record number, 7,343 applied to the AK Party to become candidates for Parliament. The highest number of applicants came from İstanbul, while the least number of applications was from Tunceli province. Reportedly, 5,205 applicants hold bachelors or master's degree.
The AK Party has 316 deputies currently, and 22 did not apply for re-election. Furthermore, it is highly expected that there will be major changes in AK Party cadres following the elections in June.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of his visit to London, Erdoğan said yesterday that the AK Party has been a party that managed to rejuvenate itself in politics and observe its deficiencies to overcome them.
"We are not considering working with a team that moved in to Ankara but does not properly attend Parliament," Erdoğan said. He added that it is not enough for deputies to move to the capital, Ankara. The president underscored that deputies need to fully meet their responsibilities and said that it is essential for the AK Party to renew the cadres, signaling changes in the party's lists for election.
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has also completed its interviews. Deputy Chairman Bülent Tezcan said that following the evaluation of the suggestions from the party's district and province organizations, the lists will be finalized on May 21 during the meeting of the Party Assembly; 2319 people applied to the CHP to run in the parliamentary elections.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) committee has also completed its work on candidates. Accordingly, 89 out of 1,815 applicants are not included on the lists for various reasons, including links to FETÖ, violence against women or fraud. During the process, the MHP reportedly focused on candidate nominees' references that were called and asked what they thought about the nominees.
Party sources said previously that out of 1,815 nominees, MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli wanted to remove those who did not have a firm stance on the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
DAILY SABAH / ANKARA