The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will hold a meeting on Nov. 18 with the participation of 160,000 delegates where criteria for ideal candidates in the upcoming local elections are expected to be determined.
In the meeting, delegates will be requested to write three possible names in provinces and districts that are not run by the AK Party currently, while two possible names will be asked in municipalities already run by the party. The results will be obtained immediately after the voting and will be submitted to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Also, the party is scheduled conduct tendency surveys with delegates which will include questions on the performances of local heads, their relations with public, municipality services, the current mayor's performance and recommendations on possible candidates.
Speaking at the World Town Planning Day meeting, Erdoğan said yesterday that the AK Party will gain victory in the March elections with the efforts of AK Party members and with the support of the nation.
"The March 31 elections are an opportunity for us to explain services made in the local and general extent," the president said. As part of the preparations, the officials of the AK Party have also presented field research and surveys conducted for the upcoming local elections to Erdoğan in a meeting earlier this week, where the names of Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, and AK Party Deputy Chairman Mehmet Özhaseki came to the front row in the Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir metropolitan municipalities.
In the meeting, Erdoğan convened a discussion with the relevant staff of his party in order to lay groundwork for the municipal elections scheduled in March 2019. Also, the field analyses and surveys conducted by local organizations for two months were presented to Erdoğan. A detailed analysis for Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir provinces was submitted to the president in a separate file, which focuses on strategies to win the elections in the three metropolitan municipalities. Reportedly, Yıldırım stands out as an ideal candidate in the surveys conducted for the Turkey's commercial capital, Istanbul.
Yıldırım had served as the country's final prime minister until earlier this year, when the post was abolished under constitutional changes. He previously ran for the Republican People's Party (CHP) stronghold of İzmir but lost against incumbent mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu despite the party's votes witnessed a significant increase.
Also, while Soylu's name has been mentioned for all three municipalities, Özhaseki is seen as a possible candidate for Ankara in the report.
For Turkey's southwestern industrial Denizli province, Nihat Zeybekçi, the deputy chairman of the AK Party Economic Policies Board, comes to the fore.
It is also reported that Erdoğan signaled that a maximum of two deputies can be nominated as a candidate for the municipalities in order to prevent losing deputies in Parliament.
Last month, the party launched its local elections campaign with an aim to take at least 20 more provinces. As the head of the local administrations in the party, Özhaseki announced that the candidates will begin to be clarified toward the end of October.
The list of the provincial and district heads who will resign to become candidates for mayor was also presented to Erdoğan. After extensive surveys, some 20 provincial chairmen and 200 district heads were added to the party's candidate list.
The AK Party won 18 out of 30 metropolitan municipalities in the 2014 elections and it received 42.6 percent of the vote acquiring 295 seats in Parliament.