Alliance negotiations between the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the right-wing Good Party (İP) for the March 31 local elections were finalized on Wednesday with the two parties agreeing to cooperate in some of the metropolitan cities after some delays in the process.
CHP Deputy Chairman Oğuz Kaan Salıcı announced Wednesday that the İP would support the candidates of the CHP in three of the most populous and accordingly significant provinces of Turkey - Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir municipalities. Also, while the CHP will not field its mayor candidates in 10 provinces such as Manisa, Kocaeli, Konya, Samsun, Trabzon and Kayseri in support of İP's candidates, the İP will back the CHP's contenders in 11 provinces including Aydın, Muğla, Tekirdağ, Hatay, Eskişehir, Antalya and Bursa.
In the other provinces, both parties will present their own candidates but "these candidates will not compete with each other." Touching upon a possible alliance in other electoral districts, Salıcı commented that party organizations are looking into possible cooperation in other provinces as well and if it is agreed, a similar alliance may be applied to certain provinces.
CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said: "We are two party leaders that have devoted themselves to Turkey. We do not have any personal expectations or interests."
The two parties have been signaling that they will continue the Nation Alliance formed with the conservative Felicity Party (SP) and center-right Democrat Party (DP) in the June 24 parliamentary elections in order to appeal to the other parties' voter bases in the elections.
Many expected the alliance of the two parties to develop in the form of nominating joint candidates for Istanbul and Ankara municipalities. But with the recent statement that the İP will support the CHP in these election districts; Kılıçdaroğlu was in the spotlight to determine possible candidates.
Following his meeting with İP Chairwoman Meral Akşener, Kılıçdaroğlu met with the president of the Association of Ankara Club, Metin Özarslan, whose name was also among the names circulating in the media for Ankara's mayoral post.
Mansur Yavaş, a former member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), has also been pointed out as a likely candidate, especially since he rejected the offer of Akşener to become a İP candidate due to a decrease in his possible votes. Yet, reportedly the party organization does not support Yavaş contrary to their chairman.
Yesterday, Kılıçdaroğlu also met with Ekrem İmamoğlu, Istanbul's Beylikdüzü mayor, the most prominent name for Istanbul's mayoral posts. The possibility of İmamaoğlu's nomination, however, has faced criticism from some party members, who say İmamoğlu is not a popular figure. There is also an overwhelming demand for the candidacy of Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of the party in previous elections and a leading dissident figure, in Istanbul municipality despite Kılıçdaoğlu's reluctance on the matter.
Meanwhile, disputes between the CHP's administration and the party organization spilled over to Balıkesir province as well after many media outlets reported that the candidacy of Ahmet Akın will be withdrawn to support İsmail Ok, the İP's candidate, as a part of the alliance negotiations.
The CHP's Balıkesir provincial head, Serkan Sarı, and other members of the provincial party organizations protested the decision in front of the Balıkesir CHP building on Wednesday. Sarı told reporters that the party organization will not accept the decision, while members of the party's Balıkesir province and district organization are likely to resign in protest.
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