AKP to draw up strategy for 2019 local elections at three-day camp
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will hold a three-day-long consultation and assessment camp on Oct. 5-7 in Ankara’s resort town of Kızılcahamam to draw up its strategies for the upcoming local elections.
The discussions will focus on special emphasis on a possible alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for the March elections and election strategy under the scope of ongoing economic turbulence.
Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his party would look into the possibility of forming an alliance with the nationalist MHP party for local elections in 2019.
The AKP formed an alliance with the MHP before the parliamentary and presidential elections in June. Erdoğan told AKP officials in his speech that the parties planned to hold talks on a fresh alliance.
The official alliance talks between the MHP and AKP are expected to start at the ruling party’s camp meetings, as the two parties had informal contacts last week to lay grounds for the discussions.
The AKP won 18 out of 30 metropolitan municipalities in the 2014 elections with 60 percent of the votes, while the MHP won in three metropolitan municipalities with 10 percent of the votes.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said on Sept. 1 that his nationalist party would enter into an alliance with the AKP “in order to hinder the parties” he alleges of having links to outlawed parties.
“Some 27 metropolitan municipalities should never be taken under the control of parties that have been fixed on the orbit of FETÖ-PKK-PYD,” he said.
Bahçeli also pledged not to run any candidate for the Istanbul province in case of an alliance with the AKP.
The first signals from the AKP did not indicate enthusiasm for a comprehensive alliance with the MHP but the ruling party seems will seek limited cooperation with the nationalist party.
The AKP will shape its election campaign over the fact of ongoing turbulence of Turkish economy with fluctuations on currency is battering voters ahead of local elections in March next year.
On Oct. 2, Erdoğan called on his party to gear up for local elections, saying that “competency and merits” will be the criteria while choosing mayor candidates.
“The local elections that will be held in March  are important for us to take action in the upcoming five years in Turkey at a pace we desire. We need to get a more successful result in the local elections in terms of voting percentage and the number of mayoral seats. The more powerful we are in local administrations, the more effective service we will give in the presidential office and parliament,” Erdoğan told AKP lawmakers in parliament.
“In light of the lessons we have taken from the June 24 [presidential and parliamentary] elections, we will determine the best road map for March 2019. Just in the aftermath of the June 24 [elections], we have launched preparations for the local election,” he said.
The president also urged lawmakers not to demand their “kin” be nominated as candidates, emphasizing that “competency and merits” will be what they base their decision on.