CHP leader strongly urges electorate to beef up participation at the ballots
DHA PhotoMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has warned that everybody who does not want to see Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should go to ballot boxes and vote for Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu without a second thought.
İhsanoğlu is the joint candidate nominated by the CHP, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and has the support of five minor parties not represented at Parliament.
“Our entire struggle pertains to having somebody whose past is not dark; who is clean, knowledgeable, decent, experienced and who represents his country and his flag seated [at the presidential office],” Kılıçdaroğlu said on July 14, ahead of a closed-door gathering with former executives, deputies and ministers from his party.
“I also know who Erdoğan is. They say ‘Ekmeleddin Bey is not sufficiently known.’ Well, you know the other one and you know who he is,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. Indicating Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) presidential candidate, is a “liar,” adding nobody should give credit to a “liar.”
Erdoğan, cited as the most likely winner, is running against İhsanoğlu and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş.
The first round of the election for the country’s first-ever publicly elected president will be held on Aug. 10. If no candidate receives the majority of the votes, the top two candidates will run in the second round Aug. 24.
There is a widely held argument that many secular and urban middle class voters who will be on vacation at the time of the election will not bother interrupting their holiday to return to their polling stations because they do not approve of İhsanoğlu’s candidacy.
“Talking in this manner and saying ‘I will not vote,’ doesn’t befit democracy. A day will come and you will be prevented from going on holiday, too,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, while passionately banging his fist on the table several times along the speech.
“If you are living in this country, you have a responsibility to your children. You shall beef up your participation at the ballot box and you will do what democracy requires,” he said.
Those who hesitate in going to the ballots or in voting for İhsanoğlu will not have any right to complain afterward, said Kılıçdaroğlu, seemingly calling out to the CHP executives and members who are annoyed with İhsanoğlu’s nomination.
“Duty falls on all of our shoulders,” he said, recalling those who criticize İhsanoğlu for not belonging to a party. “That’s what we want,” he said.