Nov 24 2018

Far-right MHP to support AKP candidates in three metropolitan cities in local elections

Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of Turkey's far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) announced on Saturday that his party will support the candidates of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in three key cities in the upcoming local elections in March, Diken news site reported. 

Turks will head to the polls on March 31st next year to elect more than 20,000 officials, including mayors to city and district councils.

Winning elections in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir is critical for the AKP and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as recent polls suggest a decrease in the AKP’s votes, which according to pollsters is related to the country's economic downturn following a currency crisis.

The AKP and the MHP formed an alliance for the June 24 elections but the two allies were at odds over the last months due to Bahçeli’s calls for a general amnesty for some imprisoned criminals.

Bahçeli said last month that the two parties would race in the local elections separately, after Erdoğan rejected Bahçeli’s proposal for general amnesty. 

The waters calmed down and Erdoğan and Bahçeli met on Wednesday to discuss a joint strategy in local elections.

Bahçeli made clear on Saturday that he had reversed his position over an alliance with the AKP in the upcoming elections. 

“Whoever the AKP candidates are in these three big cities our support will be total,” Bahceli told officials from his party in a speech in Antalya, referring to Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. 

The MHP leader also said that the alliance between two parties was critical for the survival of the state, adding that some in the opposition wanted to take the revenge of the previous election.

“The signs of it can already be detected. If no precautions are taken the system will face a fatal blow. Chaotic discussions will escalate,” he said. 

The leader of the far-right party mentioned the negotiations between the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the nationalist Good Party for a possible alliance in local elections. Bahçeli said that those two parties were also backed by dominantly Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).