Election day in Turkey: Voting starts for 2019 local elections

Millions of people in Turkey will cast ballots today to elect mayors of cities and municipal districts as well as municipal council members and neighborhood administrators
Sunday, 31 March 2019 08:30

Millions of voters in Turkey will head to polling stations today for 2019 local elections. The voting process will take place between 7.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. in the eastern provinces and between 8.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. in the west. 

Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) announced on January 2 the electoral calendar, including the participating political parties, for the local elections that were set to be held today, on March 31, 2019.

13 parties, including the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), are eligible to participate in the local polls, through which metropolitan and district municipal mayors, as well as provincial and municipal councilors, will be elected in all 81 provinces of Turkey.

The latest local elections were held five years ago on March 30, 2014.

The following parties are eligible to participate in the local polls in Turkish alphabetical order: Justice and Development Party (AKP), Independent Turkey Party, Great Union Party, Republican People's Party (CHP), Democratic Party, Democratic Left Party, Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Free Cause Party, İyi Party, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Felicity Party, Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), Patriotic Party.


Four parties compete in two big alliances: the ruling AKP and the ultra-nationalist MHP as the People’s Alliance, and the main opposition CHP and another ultra-nationalist İYİ (Good) Party as the Nation's Alliance.

While the parties within the alliances settled with joint candidates in some districts and cities, they also presented separate candidates in some places, breaking the alliances. They mostly presented joint candidates for metropolitan municipalities such as Istanbul, Ankara, and İzmir where the competition can tilt the balances in favor of one or the other alliance.

The past few elections ended in the AKP and the MHP winning after getting slightly more than half of the votes.

The pro-Kurdish HDP presented mayoral candidates in cities and districts where Kurdish population is dense and tended to announce support for the Nation's Alliance against the ruling AKP, without running active electoral campaigns. HDP will run in 13 cities in total.


TKP announced its electoral bulletin and candidates for the elections on February 11. The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) has announced that the party would be the one and only political party that truly represented the working people of Turkey in the local elections.

TKP candidates are running for mayorships of 81 cities and 85 districts. The party presented three women candidates in the three biggest cities, Ankara, İstanbul, and İzmir.

Turkey's communists run electoral campaigns actively in the biggest cities and some other cities and districts including Dersim (Tunceli) and Hacıbektaş, with the claim that the people of Turkey have an alternative other than the bourgeois parties. The party has also worked actively to organize votes for the elections of municipal council members in order to send representatives of the working class to the councils that turned into influential committees for the plans of the capitalists in cities.

The communists have disseminated the slogans "If money has its reign, working people have their Communist Party" and "We are not in the same boat" during their electoral campaign. TKP has also released a manifesto, including 12 principles, on February 25, “the communist principles for local administrations", declaring the communists’ approach to local administrations and municipal works.