The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) alliance will uphold the success of the People's Alliance and not that of the parties' individual interests in the local elections slated for March 31, a ruling AK Party official has said.
"From our perspective, the important thing is the success that the People's Alliance will obtain in local elections all over Turkey," AK Party Deputy Chairman Mahir Ünal told journalists Thursday in an event celebrating Working Journalists Day at AK Party headquarters in Ankara. He said meetings between the two parties are not for bargaining, instead they are aimed at discussing ways to achieve success in the elections.
The AK Party's chairman, President Erdoğan, and MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli have been calling on party members to avoid any actions that would harm the People's Alliance. Previously, a feud between the party branches of northern Samsun province eventually caused both the AK Party's and the MHP's provincial heads to be suspended.
Stressing that the People's Alliance was naturally born, Ünal said their duty is to protect this alliance in the upcoming period.
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, incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also won the election by 52.6 percent of the vote. Since both parties consider the results of the June 24 elections as successful, they now seek to continue their alliance in the local elections. AK Party Deputy Chairman Mehmet Özhaseki and MHP Deputy Chairman Sadir Durmaz have been carrying out the process for the People's Alliance.
Touching on the AK Party's election theme, Ünal underlined that in the 2009 and 2014 local elections the party focused on winning people's hearts and improving services to them. In the March 31 elections, people will continue to be the focus of the party, Ünal added.
In the meeting, Ünal also discussed the demands and complaints of the journalists with an aim of improving the working conditions for them.
AK Party's election campaign to last 60 days
In relation to the campaigning period, Ünal said the AK Party will start its election campaign on Feb. 1 and will continue campaigning for 60 days.
"In the first 20 days, the AK Party's works so far will be presented and in the remaining 40 days, the party will introduce its plans and projects," Ünal said, adding that the members of the AK Party Central Executive and Decision Board (MKYK) will introduce the candidates for the remaining municipalities in the upcoming days.
Accordingly, the district candidates for Mardin will be announced this weekend. Also, Erdoğan will visit Ordu, Samsun, Gaziantep, Antalya, Kocaeli, Sakarya and Trabzon provinces, where he will likely announce the related provinces' candidates.
"The president will announce the Trabzon candidate on Friday; on Jan. 26, he will announce Gaziantep's candidate and on Jan. 27, the Antalya candidate," Ünal told reporters.
With the announcement of the candidate for Antalya, the AK Party will complete announcing all of its provincial candidates. Also, on Jan. 31, the AK Party will hold a major meeting at the Ankara Sports Complex, and Erdoğan will announce the party's manifesto there.
Stressing that Erdoğan generally visits about 50 provinces in the election process, Ünal said that in the upcoming local elections similar plans might be made.
Ünal highlighted that the AK Party will also nominate candidates for the metropolitan municipalities in Muğla and Aydın provinces, indicating that the AK Party will not nominate candidates in Manisa, Osmaniye, Mersin and Adana and instead support the candidates of the MHP.
The MHP previously announced that it will support the AK Party's candidates for metropolitan municipalities in Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir. Also, the AK Party will support MHP candidates in five district municipalities of İzmir, and three districts of Ankara and Istanbul.
The district candidates for Muğla will be announced on Jan. 19 by MKYK member Markar Esayan and the district candidates for Aydın will be announced by AK Party Deputy Chairman Hamza Dağ.