Potential kingmaker HDP to announce presidential candidate within days
The HDP which is expected to play a kingmaker role in the upcoming presidential elections, has said it will announce its presidential candidate over the weekend. DHA PHotoWith only days to beginning of official registration for presidential candidates, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is expected to play a kingmaker role in the upcoming presidential elections, has said it will announce its presidential candidate over the weekend.
The new party assembly of the HDP, which was elected at a congress last weekend, will decide on the HDP’s candidate when it holds its first meeting on June 28, before making this name public, HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş told reporters on June 24 after delivering a speech at a parliamentary group meeting of his party.
“I am one of those who is sought to be candidate. There are proposals from our party members and the people on this issue. We are assessing these. We will agree on the most appropriate name, whoever is successful,” Demirtaş said, when reminded that his name has been cited as a potential candidate.
When a reporter mentioned claims that the HDP would lend its support to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) potential candidate, in a possible second round of voting, Demirtaş responded that this question “should be asked to the prime minister.”
Turkey’s first ever directly elected president will be elected with an absolute majority of valid votes in August. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in the first round, scheduled for Aug. 10, a second round of voting will take place on Aug. 24 between the two candidates who receive the most votes in the first round.
“Since we will be running in the second round, he [Erdoğan] should announce whether he will lend his support to us in the second round,” Demirtaş added humorously.
The HDP and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), two sister-parties represented at Parliament, share the same grassroots as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Support from Kurds, who make up around a fifth of the population, could be decisive for Erdoğan’s chances of success, if and when he runs in the August vote as widely expected.
Demirtaş, former co-leader of the BDP, joined the HDP and was elected as the co-leader during the congress over the weekend.
In his very first address to an HDP parliamentary group meeting, Demirtaş stressed that the party was determined to take up the role of a nationwide “party of Turkey” including various shades.
In line with this emphasis, he paid tribute to last year’s nationwide anti-government Gezi Park protests, while also underlining that the HDP’s prizing of gender equality distinguished it from other political parties.
“When they look at a tree, all those parties just see the wood,” Demirtaş said.
It seems that three candidates will be running in the August presidential vote. In addition to the AKP’s and the HDP’s candidates, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have already declared that they will nominate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, former secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as a joint candidate.
CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Akif Hamzaçebi said on June 24 that they would officially file İhsanoğlu’s candidacy to the Parliament Speaker’s Office on June 29, the date when official registration begins.