TURKEY

AK Party's women candidates show success in local elections

Women candidates from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) showed success in the March 31 local elections as six municipal mayors including one metropolitan and 1,004 municipal parliament members were elected.

The head of the AK Party women's branch, Lütfiye Selva Çam said that they accessed 33 million voters during the election campaign. Stating that they are preparing a report for presenting to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Çam said that they will make a strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis for each province and district.

Including observations of women in the field in the report, Çam remarked that they will also do a survey assessing impact analysis among organization members.

Çam said that they will propose solutions in the report and added that the AK Party and People's Alliance's election performance was successful.

"The vote share of 51.64 percent received by the People's Alliance has become an indicator on how our people embraced the presidential government system," said Çam.

Stressing the AK Party's election success in the eastern and southeastern regions, Çam said: "Motivation is very high in the east and southeast where we achieved great success. The efforts by our women's branches and women's support to the state in the region and their belief in our president were the factors that positively affected our success in the region."

Çam said that President Erdoğan's support for women once again became a critical factor in recent elections: "Our women's branches have become schools of politics. Our 268 women's branches executives were elected to municipal parliaments. In total, the number of our woman members in municipal parliaments is 1,004. Our president's support proved that women can also take place in local politics." In the March 31 elections, Fatma Şahin, the candidate of the AK Party, became the mayor of southeastern Gaziantep metropolitan for a second term. Moreover, Şeyma Döğücü in Sancaktepe district of Istanbul, Saliha Özçınar in Kiraz district of İzmir, Zeynep Akgün in Nihalgazi district of Eskişehir, Nurhan Yapıcı Özel in Ladik district of Samsun and Halil Ayık in Akyurt district of capital Ankara are other woman candidates of the AK Party who have become municipal mayors in the recent elections.

The AK Party has pushed for increasing the number of women in politics. The representation of female lawmakers in Parliament reached its highest level in Turkey with the latest parliamentary elections on June 24, 2018. For the 27th Parliament, 103 female lawmakers were elected.

The AK Party doubled the number of women candidates for the provincial and municipal councils for the March 31 elections, compared to the last local elections in 2014. For the elections, 4,712 female candidates, including 2,551 substitutes, were nominated. More than a thousand among the 2,161 primary candidates were nominated in highly electable positions, according to reports.

*Eda Işık

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