MHP won’t form alliance with AKP in next local elections: report

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Leader of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli gestures as he arrives to address his supporters during an election rally in Ankara on June 23, 2018. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will not form an alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the local elections scheduled for next March, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.

The party will not nominate a joint candidate for any municipality with the AKP but will still continue its “alliance of the heart,” according to the report.

The MHP will start its campaign planning after Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice that will be celebrated next week.

The MHP won 132 municipal elections including three metropolitan cities, four cities, 79 districts and 46 towns in 2014.

According to Turkish law, local elections are held every five years.

The party administration is leaning towards re-nominating current mayors but will conduct a performance evaluation for every one them, the report said.

The MHP, allied with the AKP, performed surprisingly well in the general election on June 24, as it garnered 11.1 percent of the vote and secured 49 seats in parliament.

On Wednesday İYİ (Good) Party deputy Hayati Arkaz resigned and joined the MHP, bringing the number 50. The İYİ Party was founded by former MHP members who were against Bahçeli’s leadership.

The party supported President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his presidential bid and provided him a first round win by more than 52 percent of the vote.

Many Turkey observers argue that the MHP’s importance for the continuation of Erdoğan’s rule will make him more nationalist in domestic and foreign policy.

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