Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım met Istanbul Mayor Mevlüt Uysal on Saturday amid reports that he may be the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) candidate for the Istanbul metropolitan municipality in the upcoming local elections.
The six-hour closed-door meeting only strengthened the claims of his candidacy for the Istanbul mayor's office. Yıldırım also paid a visit to Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu yesterday.
Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, incumbent chairman of the AK Party, announced 20 of the party's city mayor
candidates, including major cities like Ankara and İzmir.
However, the candidate for Istanbul, where the party has enjoyed decades-long rule, will likely be announced after Erdoğan's return from Argentina.
Meanwhile, the CHP is preparing to announce 300 more mayoral candidates Thursday. The party announced the names of 105 candidates on Oct. 24 and 147 candidates on Nov. 14 for some of the districts and towns and 10 provincial municipalities. But it left the names of metropolitan cities' candidates to be determined through negotiations with the right-wing Good Party (İP).
İP Chairwomen Meral Akşener said Saturday that the two parties may nominate a joint candidate in Ankara to compensate for the CHP's secular votes with conservative votes.Pointing out that the majority of voters in Ankara are conservative, Akşener said: "A person who can the attract votes of conservatives and secular votes alike, someone approved by the CHP voter base may be nominated as a joint candidate." She added that the CHP has a stronger voter base than her party in Istanbul and expects it to field its own candidate.
CHP reportedly decided yesterday to hold tendency surveys in Bilecik, Çanakkale and Sinop to learn the party organization's preferences for candidates. The CHP and İP formed the Nation Alliance with the conservative Felicity Party (SP) and the center-right Democrat Party (DP) ahead of the June 24 parliamentary and presidential elections.
The alliance received 33.9 percent of the votes, suffering a defeat to the AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) People's Alliance, which received 53.7 percent of the votes.