Local poll alliance with MHP possible: Erdoğan

Local poll alliance with MHP possible: Erdoğan

Local poll alliance with MHP possible: Erdoğan

The People’s Alliance formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ahead of the June 24 presidential elections could be continued for the upcoming local elections, AKP chair President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said. 

“It is better we, as leaders, sit and talk first. If the parties have a positive response, why not, it is possible,” Erdoğan said to a group of journalists on the way back from Kyrgyzstan on Sept. 3.

The proposal for a revisited AKP-MHP alliance was first voiced by MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli, who underlined the need to continue this partnership in local polls slated for March 2019, in a bid to prevent political parties he alleged to have links to the illegal PKK and FETÖ.

“Some 27 metropolitan municipalities should never be taken under the control of parties that had been fixed on the orbit of FETÖ-PKK-PYD,” Bahçeli had said, referring to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

The AKP and MHP partnership in the presidential elections secured Erdoğan’s victory by 52 percent of votes, although the AKP had around 43 percent in parliamentary elections. The AKP and the MHP also exercise their partnership in parliament, as the former is short of having an absolute majority in parliament.

AKP deputy leader Mehmet Özhaseki responded positively to Bahçeli’s comments on local elections on Sept. 3 and said the two parties’ previous alliance that was formed in the June 24 elections “could continue.”

The People’s Alliance was formed before parliamentary and presidential elections after a judicial change made pre-election alliances possible where all parties can present their own lawmaker candidates and enter elections together at the same time.

Erdoğan stressed the ruling party should prioritize candidates “who have adopted the AKP’s principles and are truly AKP members.”

“Some candidates presented are unfit for being mayor. It is different. The candidate for the mayor seat should have a name to speak to the grassroots of the party,” he said.

The alliance with the MHP in local elections “is possible” if the parties determine the candidates separately, said the president.

“We had a step we had taken in the pre-election of lawmakers. We can take the same step together in local elections,” he said.

Erdoğan cautious on amnesty demand by MHP

Answering the MHP’s recent push for granting amnesty for some convicts, Erdoğan adopted a cautious approach underlining that the state “can only remit crimes committed against itself.”

“We admit prisons are overcrowded to a serious level. But we should not create further victims on the other side while doing something in spite of this,” he said.

As one of its election promises, the MHP had pushed for the amnesty and had prepared an eight article bill on Aug. 24 to be presented to parliament. The bill grants amnesty to certain convicts who are not charged with terror-related crimes, child abuse and femicide.

Erdoğan said amnesty “is not on the agenda of the AKP,” adding that “if there is something that could be done, then it could be discussed.”

“We have taken the road with the MHP. We should not refrain from taking steps if there are any steps that can be taken by making necessary assessments over such issues with each other,” he said.

The president said the MHP’s request is plausible, as “prisons are overcrowded,” however, he added that the basic principle over amnesty should be evaluated over “crimes committed against the state.”

“The state can only use this authority over [crimes] committed against the state. But when it comes to crimes committed against people, then the state has no authority for such an amnesty,” said Erdoğan.