Peo­ple’s Al­liance set to crush op­po­si­tion al­liance in lo­cal elec­tions, MHP leader says

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Politics -

CHAIR­MAN of the Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli said Fri­day that the Peo­ple’s Al­liance be­tween the MHP and the rul­ing Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party (AK Party) will not have a dif­fi­culty win­ning the March 31 lo­cal elec­tions against an al­liance of op­po­si­tion par­ties.

“While the Peo­ple’s Al­liance re­ceived 20.4 mil­lion votes from 30 met­ro­pol­i­tan cities in the June 24 elec­tions, the Na­tion Al­liance could only gather 13.9 mil­lion. There was a dif­fer­ence of 6.5 mil­lion votes. In con­clu­sion, an al­liance in the met­ro­pol­i­tan cities will eas­ily beat the Na­tion Al­liance,” Bahçeli told the Turk­ish daily, Sabah, in an in­ter­view that was pub­lished Fri­day.

The Na­tion Al­liance was formed by the main op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP), the right-wing Good Party (İP), the right-wing Felic­ity Party (SP) and the cen- ter-right Demo­crat Party (DP), ahead of the June 24 elec­tions.

Bahçeli pointed out that the total sum of votes re­ceived by the AK Party and the MHP in the June 24 elec­tions was 52 per­cent. He said that the Peo­ple’s Al­liance will spoil the game of the Na­tion Al­liance by re­ceiv­ing more than 52 per­cent of votes in the up­com­ing lo­cal elec­tions in March.

Touch­ing on the im­por­tance of the March 31 elec­tions, Bahçeli said that this elec­tion should not be viewed as an elec­tion of may­ors and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, but con­sid­ered as an im­por­tant step for the pres­i­den­tial sys­tem to take roots with its all the in­struc­tions and laws.

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan also told re­porters Fri­day that he may meet Bahçeli next week in or­der to dis­cuss the on­go­ing al­liance talks.

Er­doğan said there is a strong de­termi- na­tion in both par­ties to main­tain the Peo­ple’s Al­liance. “Our friends are con­duct­ing tech­ni­cal works [on the al­liance] right now. As soon as they com­plete their work, we may get to­gether this week,” Er­doğan added that the at­tempts to un­der­mine the Peo­ple’s Al­liance will not be al­lowed.

The two par­ties pre­vi­ously joined forces in the form of the Peo­ple’s Al­liance for the June 24 pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, gain­ing 53.7 per­cent of the votes, while the Na­tion Al­liance re­ceived 33.9 per­cent of the votes.

Since the ini­tial for­ma­tion of the al­liance, both Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan, who is the chair­man of AK Party, and Bahçeli have been stress­ing that the Peo­ple’s Al­liance was not sim­ply formed to win elec­tions and that its spirit must be pro­tected in the face of threats posed against Tur­key’s na­tional se­cu­rity.

Bahçeli pre­vi­ously an­nounced that the MHP won’t nom­i­nate may­oral can­di­dates in Tur­key’s largest cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, but will in­stead sup­port can­di­dates of the AK Party as part of the Peo­ple’s Al­liance.

In a bid to fur­ther strengthen the al­liance, the MHP re­port­edly de­cided to with­draw the nom­i­na­tion of its two may­oral can­di­dates fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of 14 pro­vin­cial mayor can­di­dates of the AK Party that leaves out the can­di­dates of Ay­dın and Muğla mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to be de­cided through ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Me­dia re­ports yes­ter­day claimed that the MHP with­drew the nom­i­na­tion of its Deni­zli may­oral can­di­date Ebru Le­man and Erzu­rum may­oral can­di­date Ser­dar Se­vimli. It was also re­ported that Adana, Mersin, Manisa and Os­maniye mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were sub­ject to the ne­go­ti­a­tions of the al­liance, while a com­pre­hen­sive elec­tion strat­egy is ex­pected to be an­nounced fol­low­ing the meeting of the two party lead­ers.

In re­la­tion with the meeting, AK Party Deputy Chair­man Mahir Ünal said yes­ter­day that Er­doğan and Bahçeli will meet soon, once the prepa­ra­tions and meetings be­tween the two par­ties’ deputy chair­men, re­spon­si­ble for lo­cal elec­tions, were com­pleted.

Com­ment­ing on the MHP’s with­drawal of its Erzu­rum and Deni­zli can­di­dates, Ünal said that such mu­tual ges­tures re­sulted from the de­vo­tion to the Peo­ple’s Al­liance.

Touch­ing upon the elec­tion cam­paign, Ünal said that the cam­paign will be launched on Feb. 19 un­der the man­i­festo of a new ur­ban­ism. He added that the cam­paign will fol­low an eco-friendly path and the party will be more ac­tive on so­cial me­dia.

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