Turkey heads to polls to elect mayors

Turkey heads to polls to elect mayors

Turkey heads to polls to elect mayors

Millions of voters in Turkey will head to polling stations on Sunday to elect metropolitan municipality and district mayors, neighborhood heads, and provincial and district councils after tense and long election campaigns by two alliances set to race again after last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

Some 57 million people are eligible to vote for a total of 1,289 mayors across the country.

Turkey’s four largest parties will compete in two big alliances, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as the People’s Alliance, and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party as the Nation Alliance.

The People’s Alliance see the elections as a vote that will consolidate confidence in their parties if they win in a majority of the provinces, including the largest ones.

The latter will, however, seek to win big metropolitan municipalities like Istanbul and Ankara, to give a big blow to the People’s Alliance, which they say are fearing loss due to economic problems in the country.

Leaders in last-minute efforts to canvass votes on the eve of Turkey local elections
Leaders in last-minute efforts to canvass votes on the eve of Turkey local elections

The voting process will take place between 7.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. in the eastern provinces and between 8.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. in the west. The Supreme Election Board (YSK) has announced that all preparations for elections were ready and that all measures have been taken for poll safety.

The voters will vote for the mayors of 30 greater municipalities and 51 cities, 922 districts as well as 386 villages in addition to more than 17,000 members for municipal assemblies. They will also elect 50,236 muhtars, including 32,046 for neighborhoods and 18,190 for villages, on Sunday.

Apart from the two big alliances, nine political parties and some independent candidates will also race for various local posts. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will run in 13 cities and has decided not to present candidates in western cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and Adana.

Turkey held its first local election on Aug. 12, 1930, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency. On Sunday, the local polls will be held for the 19th time. Sunday’s polls will mark the first local elections in Turkey under the new presidential government system, adopted in an April 2017 referendum.

Following the local elections, Turkey will enter a more than a four-year long election-free period until presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2023.

Election board says ready for polls

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Sadi Güven, president of the Supreme Election Board (YSK), gave details of foolproof security measures taken for the polls. He said the most important issue after the vote is the tabulated result with wet signatures in the ballot boxes.

“We have guaranteed physical security, but beyond that, we took measures regarding transparency of the election. The elections are held between the political parties and so they are the ones competing and conducting these elections,” he added.

He stressed that at least five representatives from various political parties will preside over each ballot box in the districts. “They will determine the results of the polls and resolve any objections in the first phase,” he said.

The results of the elections will be published 10 days after votes are counted on the official website of the board.

Turkey elections 2019, March 31, 2019,