Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli was re-elected on March 18 at the party congress where he vowed to act in line with the alliance law and not harm their alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) “on both general and local levels.”
“We will act accordingly to the spirit and nature of the Alliance Law. We will not allow the presidential alliance to suffer political anxiety and polemics at the local and general level,” Bahçeli said, addressing the congress where 1,176 delegates were present. Bahçeli was elected as MHP chairman with 1,167 valid votes.
“We will act in conformity with the spirit and nature of the Alliance Act,” he said, referring to his deal with the AKP for the 2019 elections.
“All our preparations will be made and all our practices will be in line with the principles of the alliance,” said Bahçeli.
Turkey will first hold local elections in the spring of 2019, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections on the same day in the fall. The MHP and AKP has not announced an alliance for local elections, but Bahçeli’s remarks were a signal to act in line with the spirit of the alliance with the AKP even for the local polls.
He reiterated that the party’s presidential candidate is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
He ruled out speculations that the grassroots of the MHP are not embracing an election alliance with the ruling party. “We do not have grassroots, but we do have a common cause. I ask you, do you give support to the presidential alliance?” he asked, receiving the response “yes” from the delegates.
The allegations that the MHP will remain below the election threshold and fail in the elections are false, he said.
Last week, the Turkish Parliament passed a bill that would change the country’s electoral system, allowing political parties to form alliances in elections.
The two parties have been developing closer ties since the elections on June 7, 2015, during which the AKP lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in 13 years. Soon after, the peace process with the Kurds, which had been harshly opposed by the MHP, ended.