Districts of Istanbul, İzmir bone of contention in CHP, İP alliance

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 22.01.2019 00:17

The Republican People's Party (CHP) and the right-wing Good Party (İP) failed to reach an agreement on candidates for several districts in Istanbul and western İzmir for the local elections slated for March 31. Alliance talks between the two parties are expected to be finalized this week. As a result of long negotiations, the CHP and İP, the two main components of the Nation Alliance, agreed in early December to cooperate in 21 provinces, but later expanded their alliance to 42 more provinces for the upcoming local elections.

However, according to a Hürriyet daily report published yesterday, as the parties cannot yet reach an agreement over some districts of İzmir and Istanbul, CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and İP Chairwoman Meral Akşener held a phone call on Sunday to discuss the disagreement.

Accordingly, the CHP would not present mayoral candidates in four districts of Istanbul including Şile and Kağıthane in support of the İP's candidates. The İP, on the other hand, is willing to nominate a candidate in Üsküdar as well, where the party Chairwoman Akşener resides.

Reportedly, the İP demands a total of 10 districts of Istanbul, including Üsküdar, Eyüp, Şile, and Beykoz from the CHP, but the CHP is not eager to leave some of the districts it has a possibility of winning with its own candidates.

Also, even though there is only three months left for the vote, and six-party caucus meetings passed, the CHP has not yet revealed a mayoral candidate for its stronghold İzmir province. It is also expected for the party to announce its İzmir candidate amid the last party caucus meeting scheduled for the end of the month.

In İzmir, according to media outlets, Kılıçdaroğlu favors CHP Group Vice Chairman Özgür Özel for the metropolitan municipality. However, İzmir's Seferihisar district Mayor Tunç Soyer is still one of the favorite candidates.

On Thursday, CHP's current İzmir mayor, Aziz Kocaoğlu, also signaled that he may rerun for the position in the local elections although the party is reportedly not leaning toward him.

Earlier in the month, the parties once again came to the agenda over the disagreements within the CHP's party organization in northern Turkey's Kocaeli as they protested the party administration's decision to back the İP candidate for the local elections.

Furthermore, Ankara's Etimesgut, Muğla's Bodrum, Denizli's Pamukkale, Kocaeli's Çayırova and Bursa's Osmangazi districts were other regions that the two parties could not compromise on. The difference of opinion in these districts reportedly affected other districts in these provinces.

Kılıçdaroğlu and Akşener are also expected to meet this week to review the problems that the parties have been confronted with in these districts. The two parties have been signaling that they will continue the Nation Alliance formed in last year's June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections with the conservative Felicity Party (SP) and center-right Democrat Party (DP), in order to appeal to the other parties' voter bases in the local elections. The alliance, though, suffered a defeat in the elections by receiving 33.9 percent of the votes.

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