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DEVA party to nominate own candidates for local elections in March

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Ali Babacan, leader of the opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), has said his party will nominate its own candidates in all provinces – including in Ankara and İstanbul – for the local elections scheduled for March 31, 2024, BBC Turkish service reported on Tuesday.

The DEVA leader on Tuesday answered questions from a group of journalists.

Following a similar statement from İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener last month, Babacan also ruled out making any alliance with their former ally, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

In the presidential and parliamentary elections back in May, both parties were a part of the Nation Alliance, an opposition bloc of six parties. DEVA was one of the four parties in the alliance that nominated over 40 candidates under the CHP and didn’t appear on the ballot.

Babacan said there is currently “no internal motivation” within the other opposition parties to come together for the elections.

He added that they plan to release a manifesto stating that they stand for “clean governance” and ask their candidates to put their signatures to it.

“There is corruption on the government side, but not in municipalities? … We told our provincial leaders that we want absolutely clean candidates. So, we won’t be a party to anyone’s wrongdoings just because we might win three of five [more] municipalities,” Babacan said.

Babacan, former deputy prime minister, resigned from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), of which he was a founding member, in 2019, citing concerns and disagreements over its direction. After months of rumors circulating about his plans to establish a new party to challenge the AKP’s rule, he unveiled DEVA in March 2020.

The İYİ Party and the CHP established the “Nation Alliance” before the general and presidential elections of 2018, which was extended to the local elections of 2019.

The alliance helped the CHP end the years-long AKP rule in big cities such as İstanbul and Ankara.

The CHP-İYİ Party alliance was expanded to include four small opposition parties for the May general election, calling itself the “Table of Six.”

However, the alliance failed to get their presidential candidate, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, a win against incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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