HDP nominates imprisoned former leader Demirtaş for presidency

HDP nominates imprisoned former leader Demirtaş for presidency

HDP nominates imprisoned former leader Demirtaş for presidency

Imprisoned former leader of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş was announced as the party’s presidential candidate at simultaneous events in Istanbul and the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on May 4.

At the event in Diyarbakır’s Sur district, HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan read the statement announcing Demirtaş’s candidacy.

“To those also asking which candidate we will be supporting in the second round [of the presidential election], we answer with self-confidence that we will support Selahattin Demirtaş,” Buldan said.

“There is now only one alternative against the two alliances,” she added, referring to the “People Alliance” formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the opposition alliance formed by the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the İYİ (Good) Party, the Felicity Party (SP) and the Democrat Party (DP).

Several deputies and supporters of the Kurdish issue-focused party also gathered at the Abbasağa Park in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district for the announcement.

Demirtaş got 9.8 percent of the votes when he was nominated for the presidency in 2014 when he was the co-chair of the HDP. Incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won that election in the first round with 51.8 percent.

Demirtaş has been held in the Edirne Prison since November 2016 and is being tried in a series of cases, facing decades in jail on charges including “leading a terrorist organization.”

Meeting with the ‘Kurdish alliance’

Meanwhile, Buldan also met with representatives of five Kurdish political parties in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on May 4.

“The Kurdish alliance being formed ahead of the June 24 elections is very meaningful and important for the future of the Kurds. The demands conveyed to us by the delegations are also our demands,” she said after the meeting.

“We have taken these demands into consideration and we will respond as soon as possible,” she added.

The Kurdistan Democratic Platform, the Azadi Movement, the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), the Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK-T) have declared their alliance for the election, with principals including Kurds’ right to self-determination, Kurdish being recognized as an official language, and respect for minority and women’s rights.

Turkey, HDP, Elections