The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) launched its application process for mayoral candidates yesterday. The party will receive applications until Nov. 12.
AK Party Deputy Chairman Ali İhsan Yavuz in a press briefing yesterday said that the candidates can submit their applications online. He added that the party will accept applications for city and district councils until Dec. 3.
He stressed that they support the three-term limit that prevents city and district mayors from being candidates for more than three consecutive terms. Yavuz said that party Central Executive and Decision Board (MKYK) has the right to change the rule if it sees fit.
According to AK Party bylaws, those who served as deputies and mayors for three consecutive terms cannot be nominated again. However, in the last extraordinary congress, the MKYK was given the authority to decide on the deputies whose candidacy would be affected by the three-term rule in the general elections. Currently, 79 mayors, including one metropolitan, one city, 59 district and 18 town mayors face the three-term obstacle to becoming candidates in the upcoming elections.
Yavuz added that current parliamentarians of the party may apply for the March 2019 local elections without resigning from their positions. He added that the preparations and research on finding the right candidates continues.
The party, as part of its preparations, will use a new system for tendency surveys that allows quick evaluations of the voter's political affiliation. In the newly developed system, the results of the tendency surveys for the party's organization will be completed between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on a daily basis and will be available within an hour for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to evaluate.
After the launch of the candidacy process for local elections, the first application was submitted by the current mayor of eastern Van province's Gevaş district, Sinan Hakan, who submitted an application for the mayoral post of Van.
The AK Party won 18 out of 30 metropolitan municipalities in the 2014 municipal elections with 60 percent of the vote, while the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) won six metropolitan municipalities with 20 percent of the votes. Meanwhile, speaking on the recent reports suggesting that he has no intention to run for Istanbul metropolitan municipality, Binali Yıldırım, the former prime minister and current parliamentary speaker, said that he is yet to make a decision.
Yıldırım told the Turkish daily, Hürriyet that he could not make an announcement on the issue before the intraparty advisory process, adding he considers every position "a chance to serve the people."
He served as the country's final prime minister until earlier this year, when the post was abolished under constitutional changes. He previously ran for mayor of the CHP stronghold, İzmir metropolitan municipality, but lost against the incumbent mayor, Aziz Kocaoğlu, despite the fact that the party's votes witnessed a significant increase.