Election excitement in İzmir
The latest statements from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli have ended discussions for early elections in 2018.
Obviously we live in a country where even 24 hours feels too long. But I think early election debates will now decline in frequency and intensity, compared with a couple of months ago.
That does not mean we will not have any political debates this year.
Look at both the governing party and the main opposition party. The elections for provincial heads take place in a highly competitive environment.
The headquarters of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) wanted to have a one-candidate election, especially in big cities. But that did not happen in İzmir, for instance.
On the contrary, there were several candidates. In the end Deniz Yücel won the race with the support of İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu.
They say elections took place under a tense mood in Aydın. The current provincial head Bayram İnci was not a candidate. Then there were debates about the lists. Ali Çankır won the race.
Now all eyes have turned to İstanbul.
It is understandable to go to elections with only one candidate if there is consensus. But one avoids a multiple-candidate process in other circumstances to the detriment of in-party democracy.
Unfortunately we perceive competition as war. We prefer to throw stones instead of flowers. One day we will learn that competition is a good thing.
As a result, even if elections take place at the scheduled time, in other words, in March 2019, we will spend this year debating the candidates.
Kocaoğlu to be decisive
Even though Aziz Kocaoğlu says: “I am not supporting anyone,” it seems he intervened in the final phase of the İzmir provincial head elections.
That is because some members of parliament and mayors have been actively lobbying, trying to steal roles for the upcoming elections.
This is clear: Aziz Kocaoğlu is the most important player in the party. He is a mayor, has influence over in-party balances and sits on the most important seat of CHP’s public bureaucracy
That’s why Aziz Kocaoğlu’s decision to quit or continue will determine the election process in İzmir.
Election excitement in chambers
In the meantime there are elections everywhere. In trade chambers, in the stock exchange, in professional chambers.
Celil Anık was reelected as head of the İzmir Drivers and Automotive Chambers. Anık is a popular personality in İzmir and knows the sector well.
Obviously the elections in the İzmir Trade Chamber make everyone curious. Mahmut Özgener is among the candidates. Locals know him very well.
They know him from his successful performance in the exporters union as well as from his presidency of the Football Federation.
In the elections that will take place in April, Ekrem Demirtaş, who has been the head of İzmir Trade Chamber for 20 years, is set to be a candidate once again.
The competition between Mahmut Özgener and Demirtaş, who has never lost a race so far, will be breathtaking.