Centre right Iyi Party disavows alliances in municipal elections, dealing blow to opposition prospects to keep big cities

Turkish center-right opposition İyi  Party on Dec. 4 announced its decision not  to collaborate with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the local elections scheduled to be held on March 31, 2024.


During the General Administrative Board (GİK) meeting of the party, 35 members voted against the CHP’s offer whereas 14 members voted in favor.

Speaking after the meeting, İyi Party Spokesperson Kürşad Zorlu said “Our General Administrative Board has decided that our İyi Party will enter the 2024 local elections independently.”


The move came after CHP leader Özgür Özel on Nov. 30 offered to collaborate with the İyi Party in return for power sharing in key municipalities the local elections.


After Özel’s offer, Akşener met with the party provincial and district heads of Ankara and Istanbul. In these meetings, the party members generally sounded positive on cooperating with the CHP.


“The local elections will be a critical affair, in which the  nation will message its disapproval of those who  are causing a ruin in the economy.  For  İyi Party, it will mean a new start on the quest for power. No one should have any doubts, we will continue to stand against (the government) that is dragging our country into darkness. We will continue to walk the path by protecting our national interests and the yearning  for a third way,” Zorlu said.


Özel previously said they would respect all the decisions the İyi Party would make.


Before Özel’s offer, the Party already said they would field mayoral candidates in all provinces, arguing the alliance politics deepened the polarization in the country, blurring the party’s identity. The party disavowed alliance politics after the defeat of the six-party opposition coalition in general and presidential elections in May 2023.


The  decision immediately proved controversial, with some İyi Party executives resigning, claiming that the move would only benefit the governing alliance of AKP-MHP. AKP-MHP will field joint candidates in the election.

The move can potentially deal a huge blow to the CHP and the opposition’s hopes of keeping major population centers like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Mersin and Antalya, to cite a few.

Mansur Yavaş and Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), were the first opposition mayors who garnered enough votes in 2019 to gain mayorship in the capital Ankara and Istanbul after decades. In the 2019 local elections, the İYİ Party and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not field mayoral candidates for Istanbul and Ankara metropolitan municipalities, making the race between the AKP and the CHP.


The main Nation Alliance that run the in the 2023 elections included the CHP, İYİ Party, Felicity (Saadet) Party, Democrat Party, Future (Gelecek) Party, and Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party.


Also yesterday Peoples’ Democratic Party declared that it will field candidates in all provinces and boroughs, firmly signaling the end of alliances among opposition parties.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.