AK Party, MHP finalize alliance talks, leaders receive briefing

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

Consultations between the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to form an alliance for the 2019 elections were finalized as the chairmen of both parties were briefed on the outcome.

According to reports in Turkish media, commissions set up by the AK Party and the MHP concluded their work and submitted their reports to AK Party Chairman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli.

In the weeks-long discussions, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, Parliament constitution committee head Mustafa Şentop and AK Party spokesman Mahir Ünal represented their party, while the MHP was represented by Deputy Secretary-General Mustafa Kalaycı, lawmaker Mehmet Parsak from Afyonkarahisar province and another parliamentarian from Istanbul province, İsmail Faruk Aksu.

Speaking to journalists, Şentop said that their report was submitted to President Erdoğan on Tuesday night. Ünal also made a statement regarding the issue. Stressing that commission heads, Erdoğan and Bahçeli will gather in the upcoming days, Ünal said that it would happen either the end of this week or early next week.

As weeks-long talks come to an end, details of the National Agreement Alliance remain unknown. However, reports indicate that parties will be presented with their own names and emblems on ballots, which will be sufficient for citizens to vote for their parties.

Also, parties that forge an alliance will be free to choose between a joint list and separate lists. Another change in the national agreement will be the age to be chosen for deputy and village headman, which is expected to be lowered from 25 to 18.

There were also rumors in the media that other parties may join the alliance. Amid such talks, Erdoğan met Felicity Party Chairman (SP) Temel Karamollaoğlu at AK Party headquarters in Ankara. However, Karamollaoğlu did not elaborate on the possibility of an alliance between his party and the AK Party. "We shared our opinion on adjustment laws and discussed recent political developments," he said.

Reportedly, the Great Unity Party (BBP) might be another party that would be interested in joining the alliance.

The issue of alliances was brought to the agenda more often after MHP Chair Bahçeli announced that he will not run for the presidency and will instead support President Erdoğan. Since then, the two parties have ramped up their efforts to find common ground to enter the elections in 2019 in an alliance.

An alliance in the March 2019 local elections between the AK Party and the MHP was also speculated upon in the media. However, MHP Chairman Bahçeli recently ruled it out, saying that an alliance in the local elections would be "too far-fetched."

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