Jailed presidential candidate Demirtaş unveils election promises

Jailed presidential candidate Demirtaş unveils election promises

ISTANBUL
Jailed presidential candidate Demirtaş unveils election promises

Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former co-chair of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has unveiled his plans for pensioners, women and youth if elected president.

Fatih Portakal, FOX TV anchorman, asked all presidential candidates about their plans.

Demirtaş responded to Portakal’s question in several Twitter posts on May 7.

“The biggest problem for the country’s youth is the deepening poverty. Ending poverty and inequality of opportunity will unleash the potential of youths,” Demirtaş said, adding that one in five young people are unemployed.

He promised to issue what he called “Youth Cards” to support young people. With those cards, the country’s youth will receive 500 Turkish liras ($117) worth of allowance each month to spend on transportation, food, cultural and social activities.

Those cards will be distributed to every youth, Demirtaş said.

He also promised to establish the Youth Ministry, which will be responsible for coordinating youth-focused projects with other ministries.

Empowering women

“We will protect women’s constitutional, legal, administrative rights. We will mobilize society to change the male-dominant mentality,” Demirtaş said.

“Society cannot be free unless women are free and equal. We will create a presidential administration mechanism where women will constitute the majority. We will take more decisive legal, administrative, and cultural action against sexual assault and violence against women,” he added.

The ultimate target is to fight against gender inequality, which produces violence, Demirtaş said.

He also promised to open more daycare centers to help women participate more actively in the country’s social, economic and political life.

Hiking pensions

As far as pensioners are concerned, Demirtaş pledged a hike in pensions.

“The minimum pension will be raised to 3,000 liras ($704). Every retiree without a pension will receive 1,000 liras each month. We will ensure severance pay and retirement bonus, thus people will not hesitate to retire when they are ready. This way, we will create more jobs for young people,” Demirtaş said.

He promised to offer 50 percent discounts on local and international travels, including flights, for elderly.

According to Demirtaş, inter-city transportation, museums and historical sites will be free for pensioners.

Demirtaş also vowed to provide free health care for pensioners.

He also said pensioners will have the right to have unions that will negotiate their social and economic rights with the government each year.

Demirtaş, HDP, snap elections, presidential candidate