In election’s home stretch, Turkish party leaders set for last rallies

In election’s home stretch, Turkish party leaders set for last rallies

In election’s home stretch, Turkish party leaders set for last rallies

AFP Photo

As they enter the home stretch of the June 7 parliamentary election following a hectic campaigning period, leaders of Turkey’s political parties prepare to hold their last rallies before the election.

The number of provinces where Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Ahmet Davutoğlu held election rallies is, by far, the highest one.

Davutoğlu travelled to Edirne and Kırklareli June 4 before holding rallies in Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep and Kilis on June 5. On the last day of electioneering, he will be in Antalya and Konya, his hometown where he plans to cast his vote. 

When all of his rallies have been held, Davutoğlu will be the only party leader to have held rallies in all of 81 provinces of the country.

Throughout the election season, he held rallies in more than one province a day and represented the ruling AKP’s candidates in each province after delivering a 40-minute speech. His spouse, Sare Davutoğlu, some ministers and senior executives of the AKP were Davutoğlu’s companions at the rallies.

While Davutoğlu had kicked off his rallies at Erzurum April 25, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu held his first rally in Edirne April 26. After holding rallies in large cities and major towns in different regions, Kılıçdaroğlu went to his hometown, Tunceli, on June 3, in addition to Elazığ and Malatya. He was set to visit Hatay on June 4. 

The number of provinces he rallied in will reach 65 by the end of electioneering. The CHP leader will finalize his electioneering with visits to districts in Istanbul’s 1st constituency on June 6. He is expected to cast his vote in Ankara. 

Unlike Davutoğlu and Kılıçdaroğlu who chose to hold their first rallies in late April, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli held his first Turkish rally in Çankırı on May 6. 

In addition to the 44 provinces he has held rallies in so far, Bahçeli held his last rallies in Adana and Osmaniye provinces on June 4, finalizing his total number of provinces rallied in at 46.

Previous to the start of his Turkish campaign, Bahçeli also travelled to the German city of Oberhausen where he gathered with expat voters on April 26. 

As for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the two co-chairs, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were originally scheduled to hold the party’s first rally in Erzincan on April 25. Yet, the governor’s office of the eastern province refused to grant the HDP permission to hold an April 25 rally, citing a scheduled April 26 election rally by the ruling AKP as the reason.

Eventually, Yüksekdağ held the party’s first rally in Tekirdağ on May 3. So far, Demirtaş has held rallies in 22 provinces, while Yüksekdağ has addressed people in 19 provinces. The former will hold his last rally in Diyarbakır on June 5, while the latter will hold her last rally in Van on June 6. 

Thus, the total number of provinces where HDP co-chairs rallied with the people will reach 43.