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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