CHP leader rules out Istanbul mayor’s bid for presidency after court verdict
Istanbul and Ankara mayors, who are seen among potential candidates for the presidential race, should continue to serve in their current position, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said, repeating that the joint candidate of the opposition should be one of the leaders of the six-party alliance.
“My personal view is that one of the leaders of the six-party alliance should be nominated as the presidential candidate. We have not yet discussed it. If the six leaders propose my candidacy, then I would surely agree to be the candidate,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told journalists at a press conference in Ankara on Dec. 19.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s statement came at a moment when the opposition Nation Alliance intensely started to discuss whether Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu should run for the presidency after a court sentenced him to more than two-and-a-half-year in prison and imposed a political ban. Many within the alliance think this court decision will even increase the popularity of İmamoğlu as the joint candidate.
But Kılıçdaroğlu said his view that the mayors should continue in their job has not changed after the decision against İmamoğlu. “Our mayors are very successful in their jobs. They should continue to serve the people in their municipalities,” he stated.
When the court decision was announced Kılıçdaroğlu was in Germany for talks and İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener attended a protest meeting organized by İmamoğlu in Istanbul. On a question about the picture given by Akşener and İmamoğlu, the CHP leader said it was only natural to stand together on the day when the Istanbul mayor was charged with a very unfair sentence.
However, Kılıçdaroğlu criticized some members of the opposition parties who wanted to promote İmamoğlu’s bid for the presidency, saying, “Nobody can interfere in the domestic affairs of our party.”
Along with the CHP and the İYİ Party, the Felicity Party, the Democrat Party, the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) and the Future Party are part of the Nation Alliance. They agreed to run in the elections with a joint candidate against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but they have not yet discussed names. The presidential and parliamentary polls will be held in the first half of 2023.