The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will begin working intensely for the early June 24 general and presidential elections as President and Chairman of the AK Party Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will kick off the campaign tomorrow in the western province of İzmir, a city known for being a stronghold for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).
In the last Nov. 1, 2015 elections, the CHP garnered nearly 47 percent of the vote in İzmir. Yet, the AK Party has an improving trend in İzmir province. While the CHP received 55 percent of the vote in the 2009 local elections in İzmir, its votes dropped to 49 percent in 2014, and the AK Party increased its votes by 5 percent by reaching from 30 percent to 35 percent from 2009 to 2014 in the CHP stronghold. Erdoğan places great emphasis on increasing votes in İzmir, the third most-populated metropolis in Turkey. Traditionally, the electoral base in the western coastal city is known to be secularist and have center-left tendencies, making it a more strategic location for the AK Party's broader strategy of winning the elections.
Erdoğan is expected to visit around 50 provinces and more than 20 districts to meet with voters across the country. According to media reports yesterday, the AK Party cadres have been instructed by Erdoğan to use the limited time as effectively as possible. The party's roadmap for the electoral propaganda has been set out in Central Executive Board (MYK) and Central Decision Board (MKYK) meetings, and Erdoğan has called on everyone to give their best in the process.
The AK Party has also taken the holy month of Ramadan into consideration, during which practicing Muslims are fasting during the day. In this respect, AK Party deputies and members will hold rallies in the day; gather with citizens for fast-breaking events in the evening and for sahur [early breakfast before the fasting begins] in the morning.
Erdoğan is expected to announce his party's electoral manifest on May 6 in Istanbul.
With this strategy, the AK Party will seek to reach out to as many voters as possible by coming together at least three times. Since there are only less than 60 days left until the crucial elections, the ruling party is taking the issue seriously. In addition to Erdoğan's rallies, Prime Minister and Vice Chairman Binali Yıldırım will also attend events.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that aside from the objective of winning the presidential elections, the AK Party will also accelerate efforts to gain the majority in Parliament. According to some sources, AK Party deputies have been stressing that winning the presidential elections would not be enough, and that the results must also impact the balance in Parliament. Party officials underline that a majority needs to be obtained so that the new presidential governing system functions well. AK Party authorities contend that "in a Parliament consisting of 400 AK Party and 200 opposition bloc, you would face problems even if you won the presidential elections."
It has been argued that if the party of the president and the majority party in Parliament are not one and the same, it might lead to a deadlock that prevents the ratification of significant regulations.
During the run-up to the elections, the AK Party deputies are expected to inform the party supporters regarding the issue and highlight the significance of gaining a majority in Parliament. The issue is also considered as significant by the opposition bloc, who underscore gaining the majority in Parliament.
More than 50 million Turkish citizens will head to ballot boxes on June 24 for the parliamentary and presidential elections after the AK Party and the MHP called for early elections last week.
"Turkey is still governed by the system that we can call 'the old one.' Even though it seems as if there is no serious problem, we may be confronted with the diseases of the old system," Erdoğan said, also citing security reasons with regard to the need for early elections.