The countdown to Turkey's local polls, which are scheduled to be held on March 31, kicked off Monday, according to an electoral calendar released by the Supreme Election Council (YSK).
On Tuesday, the council disclosed 13 political parties that are eligible to run in the elections. Accordingly, Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Independent Turkey Party (BTP), Great Union Party (BBP), Republican People's Party (CHP), Democratic Party (DP), Democratic Left Party (DSP), Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR), Good Party (IP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Felicity Party (SP), Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and Patriotic Party (VP) are the parties that would be able to nominate candidates in the elections.
The MHP is expected to take part in the race in an alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party AK Party, while the main opposition Republican People's Party CHP is expected to ally with the IP.
The AK Party has already announced its 74 metropolitan or province mayoral candidates, while the CHP has announced 36 candidates, the MHP 34 candidates, and the IP 15 candidates.
Turkish local polls are held every five years to elect mayors of 1,397 municipalities, including 30 metropolitan, 51 provincial, 519 metropolitan district, 400 district, and 397 town municipalities.
Along with mayors, voters will also elect municipal council members in cities and muhtars (neighborhood/village administrative officers) and members of elder's councils.
The last local elections were held on March 30, 2014, which saw the AK Party clinch more than 45.5 percent of the vote.
In the 2014 local elections, the YSK designated 26 political parties as qualified to participate in the elections. If the same number of parties participate and nominate candidates for each of the 1,398 municipalities; the number of candidates will exceed 36,000. According to the schedule, the time set for political parties to nominate candidates will expire on Feb. 21.
Precise lists of candidates will be announced on March 3. On March 21, election advertising bans will commence. The period for election advertising will end one day before the election at 6 p.m.
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