The talks on continuing an alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for the upcoming local elections are moving positively, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Mahir Ünal said yesterday and added that they are expected to be finalized in two weeks' time.
"Currently the talks have been positively continuing. The results of these meetings will be presented to the chairmen and they will share them with the public. I think that this will be finalized in two weeks," Ünal said in a televised interview commenting on the ongoing talks with MHP officials over the continuing of the People's Alliance. Ünal added that the AK Party's election campaign will begin on Feb. 19 and added that the AK Party has already announced its candidates in 60 provinces and with each candidate a meeting was held.
The People's Alliance between the MHP and the AK Party was formed ahead of the June 24 parliamentary and presidential elections. The alliance received a majority in Parliament, while their presidential candidate, the incumbent president, also won the election by 52.6 percent of the votes. As both parties consider the results of the June 24 elections as successful, they now seek to continue their alliance in the local elections.
Following the decision to continue the People's Alliance, MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli announced that the party will not nominate candidates in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir with the intention of supporting the candidates of AK Party.
So far, the AK Party has announced its candidates for the capital Ankara and western İzmir province, which is a stronghold of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). The AK Party has not yet announced its candidate to run for mayor in the country's commercial and culture capital, Istanbul. Ünal underlined that the remaining candidates will be determined when the AK Party Chairman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, returns from his visit to Latin America. Former Environment and Urban Planning Minister Mehmet Özhaseki, who now serves as a deputy from the central Kayseri province and AK Party vice chairman in charge of local administration, was nominated for the capital Ankara. The AK Party's candidate for the western Izmir province is former Economy Minister and Denizli deputy Nihat Zeybekci, who held the ministry post from December 2013 to November 2015 and from May 2016 to July 2018.