Turkish political parties submitted their candidate lists to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Friday, as the snap election on Nov.1 draws near.
The governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party), substantially renewed its candidate list with changes, especially in eastern and southeastern regions.
In addition to Istanbul, significant changes were seen in 12 eastern and southeastern Anatolian provinces, as the party leadership focused on resolving the “list mistakes,” which supposedly caused a 9 percent decrease in overall votes.
The familiar figures of Besir Atalay, Ali Babacan, Bekir Bozdag, Cemil Cicek, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Cevdet Yilmaz, Efkan Ala, Hayati Yazici, Burhan Kuzu, Markar Esayan and Mehmet Simsek were present on the candidate list once more.
The AK Party, removed a longstanding party bylaw at the party's recent general congress, which prevented AK Party members from holding a post for more than three consecutive terms.
Accordingly, the AK Party received over 3,000 applicants, while the CHP received over 500 and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) received nearly 2,000.
While renewing its lists, the AK Party reviewed its discourse concerning the Kurdish issue and took polls conducted in separate provinces into account.
Three criteria were reportedly adopted in preparation of the AK Party candidate names in the eastern and southeastern provinces. The first criterion was that the possible deputy candidate was to be born and raised in the region.
The second one was the possible candidate must be known in the area, while the opinion of influential regional leaders was the last criteria.
The Prime Minister and the AK Party chairman Ahmet Davutoglu, who is once again nominated for Konya, is expected to present the candidates at a gathering in Ankara on Sept. 21.
Tugrul Turkes, the former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Ankara Deputy and party founder's son, was also announced for candidacy by the governing AK Party.
Turkes, was referred to MHP disciplinary committee and later expelled from the MHP after his decision to take part in Ahmet Davutoglu's interim cabinet.
In previous general election on June 7, the AKP received 40.66 percent of the vote, while the CHP won 25.13 percent, the MHP 16.45 percent and the HDP 12.96 percent.
CHP maintains former deputies
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) did not make major changes to its candidate list from the June 7 election, as 128 of 131 former deputies kept their seats on the list.
The CHP also presented a former ambassador as a candidate, as well as a number of singers and actors.
Former CHP Chairman Deniz Baykal was announced as a candidate for Antalya.
CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu changed the first rows on tickets in provinces such as Adiyaman, Ardahan and Kahramanmaras where his party couldn’t win any seats.
Accordingly, the CHP nominated Turkey’s former Mosul Consul-General Ozturk Yilmaz who was among the 49 people kidnapped by ISIS for 101 days and released on September 2014, as its first row candidate for Ardahan.
In provinces where votes were assumed to have moved from the CHP to the HDP, like Gaziantep, Hatay and Mersin, Kilicdaroglu also did similar adjustments.
In the meantime, the Vice Chairman of the party, Murat Ozcelik who declared after the June 7 election that he and his family voted for the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), was not nominated for deputy candidacy.
The candidates of CHP included 425 men and 125 women applicants.
HDP and MHP did not offer notable changes
Neither the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) nor the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), both having 80 seats from the previous election, made any dramatic changes in their lists.
The MHP did not have a significant change in its lists, apart from Murat Basesgioglu, who decided to give up politics, and Deputy Prime Minister,Tugrul Turkes who was expelled from the party after joining the interim cabinet.
In the meantime, the chairman Devlet Bahceli excluded the former Interior Minister Meral Aksener from the MHP list.
Focusing on the loyalty criteria for its candidates, the MHP administration decided not to nominate those who had criticized the MHP's results on June 7 elections.
The HDP became the political party with the least changes in the candidate list.
The party only replaced candidates who were not willing to re-run for the parliament.
HDP Istanbul deputy, Levent Tuzel a former leader of the Labor Party (EMEP), who refused to take part in the interim government, gave a speech after the announcement of the list.
Tuzel said ‘’I was excluded from the list as I did not accept the ministerial duty.This stance of HDP should be condemned while we are in such a struggle for democracy against dictatorship.’’
Leyla Zana, Sirri Sureyya Onder, Celal Dogan, Selahattin Demirtas, Pervin Buldan, Ertugrul Kurkcu and Muslum Dogan took place in the first rows as in the previous election.
In the meantime, the arch-rival of HDP in eastern provinces, the conservative Kurdish Free Cause Party (Huda-Par) decided not to enter the upcoming election.
The party leader, Zekeriya Yapicioglu said that ‘’we believe that the decree of the voters will not reflect into the ballot box under the present circumstances; that is why we do not attend the election on Nov.1.’’
‘’We wish the bloody clashes to end immediately and peace to return to our country’’ he added.
Zekeriya also said ‘’ we will continue to tell the truth to our people, not for the purpose of pulling more votes, but as a part of our responsibility.’’