People's Alliance set to crush opposition alliance in local elections, MHP leader says

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli said Friday that the People's Alliance between the MHP and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will not have a difficulty winning the March 31 local elections against an alliance of opposition parties.

"While the People's Alliance received 20.4 million votes from 30 metropolitan cities in the June 24 elections, the Nation Alliance could only gather 13.9 million. There was a difference of 6.5 million votes. In conclusion, an alliance in the metropolitan cities will easily beat the Nation Alliance," Bahçeli told the Turkish daily, Sabah, in an interview that was published Friday.

The Nation Alliance was formed by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the right-wing Good Party (İP), the right-wing Felicity Party (SP) and the center-right Democrat Party (DP), ahead of the June 24 elections.

Bahçeli pointed out that the total sum of votes received by the AK Party and the MHP in the June 24 elections was 52 percent. He said that the People's Alliance will spoil the game of the Nation Alliance by receiving more than 52 percent of votes in the upcoming local elections in March.

Touching on the importance of the March 31 elections, Bahçeli said that this election should not be viewed as an election of mayors and municipalities, but considered as an important step for the presidential system to take roots with its all the instructions and laws.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also told reporters Friday that he may meet Bahçeli next week in order to discuss the ongoing alliance talks.

Erdoğan said there is a strong determination in both parties to maintain the People's Alliance. "Our friends are conducting technical works [on the alliance] right now. As soon as they complete their work, we may get together this week," Erdoğan added that the attempts to undermine the People's Alliance will not be allowed.

The two parties previously joined forces in the form of the People's Alliance for the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, gaining 53.7 percent of the votes, while the Nation Alliance received 33.9 percent of the votes.

Since the initial formation of the alliance, both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is the chairman of AK Party, and Bahçeli have been stressing that the People's Alliance was not simply formed to win elections and that its spirit must be protected in the face of threats posed against Turkey's national security.

Bahçeli previously announced that the MHP won't nominate mayoral candidates in Turkey's largest cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, but will instead support candidates of the AK Party as part of the People's Alliance.

In a bid to further strengthen the alliance, the MHP reportedly decided to withdraw the nomination of its two mayoral candidates following the announcement of 14 provincial mayor candidates of the AK Party that leaves out the candidates of Aydın and Muğla municipalities to be decided through negotiations.

Media reports yesterday claimed that the MHP withdrew the nomination of its Denizli mayoral candidate Ebru Leman and Erzurum mayoral candidate Serdar Sevimli. It was also reported that Adana, Mersin, Manisa and Osmaniye municipalities were subject to the negotiations of the alliance, while a comprehensive election strategy is expected to be announced following the meeting of the two party leaders.

In relation with the meeting, AK Party Deputy Chairman Mahir Ünal said yesterday that Erdoğan and Bahçeli will meet soon, once the preparations and meetings between the two parties' deputy chairmen, responsible for local elections, were completed.

Commenting on the MHP's withdrawal of its Erzurum and Denizli candidates, Ünal said that such mutual gestures resulted from the devotion to the People's Alliance.

Touching upon the election campaign, Ünal said that the campaign will be launched on Feb. 19 under the manifesto of a new urbanism. He added that the campaign will follow an eco-friendly path and the party will be more active on social media.

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