Turkish opposition İYİ Party refuses collaboration with CHP in local elections

Turkish right-wing opposition İYİ (Good) Party has refused the main opposition CHP’s offer to collaborate for some municipalities in the upcoming local elections. The move might make the CHP lose crucial municipalities against the ruling AKP, such as Istanbul and Ankara.

CHP leader Özgür Özel (L) and İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener (R), (ANKA)

Ceren Bayar / Gazete Duvar

Turkish right-wing nationalist opposition İYİ (Good) Party on Dec. 4 announced their refusal to collaborate with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the local elections scheduled to be held on March 31, 2024.

During the General Administrative Board (GİK) meeting of the party, 35 members voted against the CHP’s offer whereas 14 members voted in favor.

Speaking after the meeting, İYİ Party Spokesperson Kürşad Zorlu said “Our General Administrative Board has decided that our İYİ Party will enter the 2024 local elections freely and independently.”

The move came after CHP leader Özgür Özel on Nov. 30 offered to collaborate with the İYİ Party for some municipalities in the local elections.

After Özel’s offer, Akşener met with the İYİ Party provincial and district heads of Ankara and Istanbul. In these meetings, the party members generally offered to cooperate with the CHP.

“The local elections will be an election in which the Turkish nation will send its message to those who caused the bad trend in the country, and for the İYİ Party, it will mean redetermining the route in our march to power. No one should have any doubts, we will continue to stand against (the government) that drags our country into darkness, but we will continue to walk the path by protecting our national sanctity and our nation's call for the third way,” Zorlu said.

Özel previously said they would respect all the decisions the İYİ Party would make.

Before Özel’s offer, the Party already said they would field mayoral candidates in all provinces, arguing the alliance politics deepened the polarization in the country and pushed back the party’s identity. The party started to oppose the alliance system after the opposition’s defeat in the general and presidential elections in May 2023.

After this decision, some İYİ Party executives resigned from the party, saying that the move would only benefit the government.

This move can potentially blow a huge deal to the CHP and the opposition. 

Mansur Yavaş and Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), were the first opposition mayors who garnered enough votes in 2019 to gain mayorship in the capital Ankara and Istanbul after decades. In the 2019 local elections, the İYİ Party and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not field mayoral candidates for Istanbul and Ankara metropolitan municipalities, making the race between the AKP and the CHP.

The main opposition Nation Alliance that run the in the 2023 elections included the CHP, İYİ Party, Felicity (Saadet) Party, Democrat Party, Future (Gelecek) Party, and Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party.

(English version by Alperen Şen)