Turkey’s local elections 2019: How HDP to determine its candidates in 3 big cities

People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which will run in the local elections independently, postponed the official announcement of its mayoral candidates to the new year. Similarly, the party followed same path to lately announce the candidates in last general elections on Jun 24.

As the local elections is approaching, HDP is planning to nominate its candidates from both eastern and southeastern provinces, where the HDP’s presence is strong, however, the party is wondering whether it will nominate any candidates from the 3 biggest western cities such as İstanbul, İzmir, and Ankara.

Meanwhile, the HDP has no competence to win the mayoral candidates in the biggest western cities. It is seen that if nominees will receive support from the HDP, in the aforementioned big cities, the winning chance in İstanbul automatically increases by the party’s 12 percent vote rate.

Accordingly, what are the criterion which HDP will use to choose the nominees? What kind of tactics is it going to follow, whether to announce nominees in big western cities or not? What are the prominent titles to determine nominees by HDP?

HDP candidates in eastern provinces

Both in Eastern and Western provinces, particularly in the mayoral municipalities which were transferred to trustees by government, HDP will nominee candidates in every province.

Nominees will be determined by tendency surveys. In some provinces, the nominees will be determined in accordance with the applications of the candidates, well-known candidates or the candidates from dismissed mayors.

On the other hand, formerly dismissed mayors Ahmet Türk will be nominated from Mardin, and former mayor of Ağrı, Sırrı Sakık will be nominated from his native province of Muş.

Party Group Deputy Chairman, Ahyan Bilgen, who has a big chance to be elected in Kars, will be nominated from his homeland in the local elections.

Will HDP announce nominees from 3 big western provinces?

As for the party’s nominations in 3 big cities of Ankara, İstanbul, and İzmir, or of some provinces in Western and Mediterranean regions will be determined according to a decision made by the party. HDP couldn’t form any alliance with other political parties.

On that score, İstanbul is certainly seen highly critical. As for İstanbul, HDP will ask its party members whether they will vote to support Republican People Party’s (CHP) candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, or not.

In İzmir, a stronghold western city of CHP,  HDP will decide its position following determination of CHP candidate.  

Meanwhile, a high level director in HDP, who wants to remain anonymous, talked to BBC Turkish and has summarised their criterion in determining their nominees as follows:

“If the local nominee is close to our principals, we will announce ones. But if they are far from our criterion, we will run in the elections with more powerful candidates or we will listen to the demands of that local. Determining a macro politician and saying ‘Let’s do it in this way’ may not seem proper by voters, because political consciousness is very high among our voters,” said HDP Director.

“For a long time the names of İmamoğlu and Yavaş have been mentioned by the CHP. But there were some hesitations, and different names were also mentioned. When the candidates become certain, we will work, because Istanbul is highly critical,” he added.

The HDP senior figure further stated that the party made a survey about those candidates among own grassroots. Also, İzmir and Ankara are the same.  “We do not have an attitude like ‘we have to announce a candidate in İzmir and Ankara,’” he said.

“Local initiatives made decision and we adopted those decisions. For this reason, we ask our party followers and our delegations. We have 12 percent vote rate in İstanbul. The other means 1 million and 200 thousand electors but our potential can increase to 3 million and we have to prevent this potential from going somewhere else,” he added.

“Our elector can behave as strategical. Opposition parties have not contacted us, for this reason, the important thing is what nominees will say, how they will speak about our grassroots. For example, ‘we will not put up any nomination in Ankara’ that does not mean that our voters are convinced. This is why, the nominees’ discourse is very important. Our party will support the CHP candidate, in case CHP will step down for the sake of our nominees from Akdeniz and Toroslar districts of the Mersin, where our party is so strong,” he explained.

Maximum 3 MPs to run for election

In order to keep party grounds strong, it is expected that some deputies will nominate candidates in upon the locals request. Although not certain, Party Group Deputy Chairman, Ahyan Bilgen, who has a big chance to be elected in Kars, will be nominated in the local elections.

Similarly, if the margin with the opponent party candidate is small some deputies will be nominated, but not more than 2 or 3 persons.

‘Reactional candidate’ for Aydın

Although HDP has inclination towards supporting nominees in many provinces across Turkey, it will put up a “reactional candidate” from Aydın where governed by CHP mayor.

The underlying reason of the reactional candidate is that a photo taken by a soldier, who depicted the name of the Aydın Metropolitan Municipality Özlem Çerçioğlu and thanked the soldiers in the photo, was shared on social media.

When the nominees to be explained

As HDP is continuing the tendency survey in eastern and southeastern provinces to announce its nominees, it will not rush disclosing their names. Declaration of the candidates will be made by mid-January or later due to the continuation of the ‘tendency survey’ and whether HDP will announce nominees in some areas or not.

CHP announces mayoral candidates, including Istanbul and Ankara

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