February 17, 2019
As known, on March 31, local elections will be held. More than 57 million Turkish citizens are registered to vote at the local elections. Turkish local elections are held every five years to elect mayors of 1,398 municipalities across the country. Among them are municipalities in 81 provinces, including 30 metropolitan municipalities and 921 districts. Voters will also elect municipal council members in cities and — in rural areas — muhtars and members of elder councils.
As March 31 is drawing near, the economic instability is seen as the most important challenging factor for the ruling Justice and Development Party ( AK Party). The economic turmoil fueled by currency crisis last summer and the rise of prices along with the rise of unemployment rates have been a serious threat for AK Party candidates before the elections.
On the other hand, the political poorness and the lack of stable promising discourses among the circles of the oppostion parties (the HDP, CHP and İYİ Party) pave the way for the probable electoral success of AK Party candidates. The alliance between the main opposition party CHP and İYİ Party has not made some of the party members satisfied at all. Their ideologies differ and it is quite obvious that the only common denominator between the two parties is their stance against AK Party. Their alliance stands at the center of beating AK Party and this seems impossible from a realistic point of view.
In fact, the main opposition party, the CHP –a party as old as the Republic – under the leadership of Kılıçdaroğlu is not seen as an alternative to the ruling party. The intra-party competition blocks the success of the party for so long. I think, CHP needs to clarify its short and long term goals for the aftermath of the local elections.
In terms of HDP line, the unrealistic rhetoric of HDP’s co-chair Sezai Temelli promising that they will beat AK Party in big cities seems ridiculous.
In the previous days, President Erdoğan revealed the election manifesto of AK Party. Shorty, the manifesto reveals that after the elections, a new vision of administration will be adopted embracing technology, innovation and ecological considerations. The election Manifesto consist of 11 basic articles., They cover city planning, infrastructure, transportation, eco-friendly projects and social municipality.
It can be said that, the manifesto is the reflection of AK Party’s newly-emerging approach of governing the urban . If AK Party becomes truimphant in the elections and if this approach becomes dominant after local politics, Turkey will probably face a new way in governing the urban in accordance with technology and ecological considerations. We will wait and see what will happen after March 31.Author : Begum Burak