Nationalist figure named as CHP’s preliminary candidate for Ankara mayor
AA PhotoMansur Yavaş, the former mayor of Ankara’s Beypazarı district from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), has been declared as a preliminary candidate for the Ankara metropolitan mayor’s office from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), for the upcoming March 2014 elections.
On Dec. 19, Yavaş met CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at the party’s headquarters in Ankara, and his nomination was made public with a press statement following the meeting.
Yavaş’s nomination is seen as a reflection of the CHP’s March 2014 election policy of nominating candidates who will get the most votes, even if they are not of CHP origin. In cities such as Ankara, the party has been searching for candidates who will able to garner votes from the center-right.
The CHP first contacted Yavaş in October to try to persuade him to become the party’s Ankara candidate, but he initially rejected the proposal.
However, in something of a U-turn, Yavaş last week gave the green light to the CHP, while accusing the MHP administration of making “inexplicable efforts” for the re-election of current Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Yavaş was elected as Beypazarı mayor twice in a row in 1999 and 2004 from the MHP, gaining popularity not only among MHP voters but also among others, mainly because of his success in turning Beypazarı into a popular tourism spot.
He ran for the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality in the 2009, but received only 27 percent of the vote, finishing third. Still, the result was regarded as a success, as he managed to increase the MHP’s vote rate by 10 percent from the previous local election in 2004.
In October, Yavaş declared his willingness to run again for the MHP, but the party ruled out his candidacy, possibly due to his earlier public criticism of party leader Devlet Bahçeli.