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Nationalist opposition leader rules out alliance with former ally for local elections

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The leader of Turkey’s nationalist İYİ (Good) Party has said her party will nominate its own candidates in all provinces for the local elections, scheduled for March, and will not make any alliance with its former ally, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener spoke to journalist Fatih Altaylı for an interview on his YouTube Channel, which was broadcast on Wednesday.

Akşener said she thinks, based on her experience, that election alliances inflict damage on the country, so she is planning to avoid such alliances for the local elections on March 31.

“We will nominate our own candidates everywhere including İstanbul and Ankara,” Akşener said, adding that she will discuss the issue with her party’s executive board.

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 Justice and Development Party (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.”

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

Akşener said she was disappointed to learn that some members of the Table of Six campaigned against the İYİ Party in certain provinces and caused the party to lose three parliamentary seats in the general election in which each party nominated their own parliamentary candidates.

The İYİ Party leader said she is aware that her decision to avoid an election alliance will lead to outrage among some people, who will harshly criticize her for acting in favor of the AKP, but insists she is ready to face all the criticism

“I am strongly against alliances in politics. They polarize people. We could not sufficiently discuss the problems of the poor and the retired or the refugee problem in the country [before the May elections because of the polarization],” she said.

When Akşener briefly left the Table of Six in protest of the alliance’s decision to nominate Kılıçdaroğlu because she was in favor of the nomination of either İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu or Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş, she was harshly criticized for strengthening Erdoğan’s hand. She returned to the group in the wake of the growing criticism.

Akşener thought either of the mayors had a higher chance of winning against Erdoğan.

The politician said her party would return to its factory settings, adding that her party was not established to get CHP candidates elected.

When asked whether she is willing to take the chance of losing İstanbul and Ankara to AKP candidates, Akşener said she is and thinks perhaps her party’s candidates will be elected in those cities.

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