AKP discloses ‘real municipalism’ manifesto before local elections

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has revealed his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) election manifesto titled “real municipalism” in anticipation of the upcoming local elections.

“We will build strong settlements resistant to disasters. We will develop social municipalism that is sensitive to all social segments,” Erdoğan declared in a press conference detailing the priorities of local administrations on Jan. 30.

With a nod to the party’s historical roots, Erdoğan harkened back to the AKP’s inaugural foray into local elections in 2004, reiterating their enduring commitment to local development. This time, however, the AKP presents a refreshed agenda under the banner of “real municipalism,” aimed at addressing contemporary challenges and aspirations, he said.

The manifesto, comprised of eight main pillars, includes pledges to prioritize disaster preparedness, cultivate culture-producing cities and bolster social welfare initiatives within urban economies.

Moreover, Erdoğan outlined a vision for transparent and accountable governance, coupled with a commitment to environmental stewardship.

Key objectives outlined in the manifesto booklet include enhancing the administrative and financial capabilities of local governments through targeted reforms and tackling issues ranging from unplanned urbanization to infrastructural deficiencies.

Embracing an ethos of adaptability and innovation, the AKP envisions cities equipped to confront the challenges posed by climate change and emerging digital technologies, all while championing principles of inclusivity and cultural preservation.

Central to the AKP’s municipal agenda is the concept of “real municipalism,” encapsulated by 13 guiding principles emphasizing productivity, fairness and patriotism.

Erdoğan’s address also alluded to alleged “setbacks” in major urban centers, notably Istanbul and the capital Ankara, where the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) secured victories in the 2019 elections.

“Our nation saw that those who took over the municipal governments from us in the previous election did not contribute anything to our cities other than making them lose five years,” he said. “That’s why we have placed real municipalism at the center of our election work.”

With the renomination of incumbent mayors Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş in Istanbul and Ankara, the AKP aims to mount a challenge with candidates Murat Kurum and Turgut Altınok, respectively.

Erdoğan has been vocal about the paramount importance of reclaiming Istanbul for the AKP, with the slogan “Istanbul again” becoming a central theme in his party’s election campaign.