Neighborhoods in election battle .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} AMASYA-Two neighborhoods in the northern Amasya region are pitched in a battle, with both trying to beat the other in having their candidate elected mayor.

The battle has been going on since the Ballıca and Dereli neighborhoods were united as a single municipality in 1999. The united Ballıdere municipality did not result in united relations between Ballıca and Dereli. Each are fighting to secure their candidate with the post of mayor.

Ballıca, which has lost the last two local elections, want to turn that around in the March 29 polls and decided to support businessmen Ahmet Koç, who chose to run with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party, MHP.In response, Dereli held a mini-referendum over the weekend to decide which party’s candidate they would support against Koç.The referendum ended with Dereli choosing the Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, candidate Nazım Saray.

The total population of the region is 1.9 million, with 695,492 eligible voters in Dereli. At the mini-referendum in Dereli, the Republican People’s Party, or CHP’s, candidate Kemal Üstün received 43 votes, to Democratic Left Party, or DSP, candidate Ahmet Harman’s 140 votes, with AKP’s Saray getting 202 votes.

Saray, who is also the incumbent, said he had served as mayor since 1999, adding that he had never discriminated between the neighborhoods.When the Ballıca resolved to support MHP’s Koç, Dereli residents had approached the mayor asking for a vote on the rest of the candidates because they did not want their votes to be divided. "I talked with the CHP and DSP candidates and we agreed on a mini-referendum," Saray said.DSP’s candidate Harman said he had agreed on the vote after consulting their Amasya provincial party bureau. "No matter what happens, it is the people who decide," he said.CHP’s Üstün also said there were no regrets about his election defeat two months before the actual elections took place. "The public demanded only one candidate to run against the MHP’s Koç. At the end of the vote, it was the AKP’s candidate that won the right to face him. We will support him in the elections," Üstün said. "Dereli has been electing the mayors since 1999, with Ballıca losing out on the attention of municipal services. I came from Germany to run for mayor. I have three businesses in Germany and no need for money," Koç said.

The two neighborhoods’ faceoff is far from resolved. The mini-referendum in Dereli was not looked kindly upon by the provincial party heads of CHP and DSP. Both party branches have said they would be sending in new candidates to compete against both the AKP and the MHP.