The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) began a thorough vetting of its candidate nominees to filter out possible Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) infiltrators.
Media reports claimed that party candidate nominees would undergo thorough checks as it prepares to submit its deputy candidates’ lists to the Supreme Election Council (YSK) by May 21.
The MHP is reportedly focusing on candidate nominees’ references, who were called up and asked what they thought about the nominees.
Party sources said that out of some 1,815 nominees, MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli wanted to pick out those who did not have a firm stance on the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
A party commission was also holding interviews with the nominees so as to have a better understanding of why they applied.
Bahçeli also wanted the selection committee to eliminate those who did not have a clear position on the MHP’s extraordinary congress held by a group of MHP dissidents.
The legal and leadership battle in MHP began after the Nov. 1, 2015 elections, where the party barely crossed the 10 percent threshold and lost half of its deputies, compared to the June 7 elections.
Since then, dissident figures like Meral Akşener, founding chairwoman of the Good Party (İP), Sinan Oğan and Koray Aydın raised their voices against the current leader Bahçeli. The trio took the party to an unauthorized congress in June 2016.
The MHP’s alliance with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) also plays a role in the selection of deputy candidates.
The AK Party and the MHP decided to form a political alliance for the presidential elections after MHP Chairman Bahçeli announced that his party will not name a candidate for the 2019 presidential elections and will support the re-election of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instead. The two parties will enter the elections under the People’s Alliance.
the MHP’s candidate nominees applied personally at party Headquarters. Each nominee paid a TL 2,500 ($589) application fee, without the expectations of disabled candidates. Young citizens as well as women showed a lot of interest in applying for the deputy candidate nomination.