As the preparations for the upcoming local elections continue, 92 incumbent mayors from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will not be able to re-run due to the party's three-term limit.
According to AK Party bylaws, those who served as deputies and mayors for three consecutive terms cannot be nominated again.
There are 92 mayors in total who are bounded by the rule, including eight from the country's commercial capital Istanbul, most of whom are the mayors of districts of several provinces rather than provincial mayors.
However, the mayors of Istanbul's eight different districts are some of the most crucial ones due to the importance of Istanbul for the parties, as it is the most populated province in the country.
Istanbul is the commercial and cultural capital of Turkey with a population of more than 15 million.
According to Adil Gür, A&G Research Company's general manager, whoever wins Istanbul, wins the country as a whole.
The mayors of Arnavutköy, Bahçelievler, Beyoğlu, Güngören, Kağıthane, Ümraniye, Şile and Zeytinburnu districts of the province have been in their posts for three terms now, clashing with the party's rule."Istanbul has 20 percent of the whole country's population. This means that two of every 10 voters live in Istanbul. Besides, the budget of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality is bigger than the budget of 18 ministries," said Gür, speaking to Sabah daily on Monday, adding that "Istanbul is like a mirror of Turkey."
"If you win in Istanbul, you would probably win in most of the other provinces," Gür said, emphasizing that the AK Party seems to be the leading party in the province.
In Gür's opinion, one of the most important dynamics of the local elections is the candidates themselves and their effect on the people. This effect is 30-40 percent in metropoles like Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara provinces while in smaller places this effect can rise to 60-70 percent.
Previously, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had repeatedly highlighted that the people want a change which is why the three-term rule was needed. However, in the last extraordinary congress, the Central Executive and Decision Board (MKYK) were given the authority to decide on the deputies whose candidacy would be affected by the three-term rule in the general elections.
Other than Istanbul's district mayors, the mayors of Turkey's northwestern provinces of Kocaeli and Bolu are also bound by the rule. In the capital province of Ankara, the mayors of Altındağ, Kahramankazan, Akyurt and Çamlıdere will also be unable to run for the elections.
However, there is a possibility of shifting some of these mayors to other districts and making an exception out of them by extending their term one more time, which is a stretching option that depends on the decision of the party's MKYK.
Speaking on the issue during a press conference yesterday, AK Party spokesperson Ömer Çelik said that the preparations for the elections are about to be completed.
"This weekend the latest tendency surveys will be completed. The ones who are most suitable for the position among these people [who will be determined through the surveys] will be the candidates," Çelik said, adding that all the candidates will be introduced through a program that Erdoğan himself will also be present at.
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 Erdoğan to evaluate.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.
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