As the countdown for Turkey’s local elections -- set to be held on March 31 -- began on Tuesday, Turkish president announced names of mayoral candidates for 25 districts of western Izmir province.

In a meeting held in Izmir, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is also chairman of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, recalled the party's nomination for the mayor of Izmir -- former Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci.

Erdogan said his party would support opposition Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) candidates in five districts of the city.

Speaking about Turkey’s economy, the president said that the country’s economy grew 4.5 percent in first 3 quarters of 2018, despite challenges it faced.

He added that Turkey hit highest figures in the country’s history with an export worth $168.1 billion.

Upcoming elections

AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are expected to support each other’s candidates in some districts and provinces, while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Good (IYI) Party are expected to make same arrangement.

The ruling AK Party has so far announced its 74 provincial mayoral candidates, while CHP has announced 36 candidates, MHP 34 candidates, and IYI Party 15 candidates.

AK Party has nominated Mehmet Ozhaseki, its deputy chairman and a former environment and urbanization minister, for mayor of capital Ankara in the upcoming election.

Meanwhile Binali Yildirim, current parliament speaker and former prime minister, will run for mayor of Istanbul for AK Party.

CHP, meanwhile, has nominated Ekrem Imamoglu for mayor of Istanbul and Mansur Yavas for Ankara mayor.

Turkish local polls are held every five years to elect mayors of 30 metropolitan municipalities and 51 provincial municipalities.

Along with metropolitan, provincial and district mayors, voters will also elect municipal council members in cities and -- in rural areas -- muhtars and members of elder councils.

The last local elections were held on March 30, 2014, which saw AK Party clinch more than 45.5 percent of the vote.