CHP-MHP to set up joint election center for İhsanoğlu’s presidency bid

CHP-MHP to set up joint election center for İhsanoğlu’s presidency bid

Okan Konuralp ANKARA
CHP-MHP to set up joint election center for İhsanoğlu’s presidency bid

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is seen during his party's parliamentary group meeting on June 17. AA Photo

The two main opposition parties are planning to establish a joint election campaign center for an efficient bid by their joint candidate, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, in a rare instance of cooperation between Turkish political parties.

“We will finalize our road map in four or five days. Our initial decision is that each party will carry out its own work for İhsanoğlu’s bid,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told daily Hürriyet on June 17.

The CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) officially announced İhsanoğlu, a former secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and renowned academic-intellectual, as their joint presidential candidate on June 16.

“We see İhsanoğlu not as a specific party’s candidate but as Turkey’s candidate. Thus, we and the MHP, and other political parties, as well as non-governmental organizations, are endorsing his bid, and we will carry out our own campaigns. Each of us will explain why İhsanoğlu should be Turkey’s next president,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

He said there may be no typical public rallies during İhsanoğlu’s campaign, but he could meet with community leaders and decision-makers of each province while political parties hold their own rallies in support in different parts of the country.

“We will run this process not like a political party campaign. Ekmeleddin is neither the CHP’s nor the MHP’s candidate, but Turkey’s candidate. Therefore the CHP will not be visible in İhsanoğlu’s personal campaign. For example, if we are going to allocate a bus to him, there will be no CHP symbols on it,” he stressed.

Although Kılıçdaroğlu said each and every component of İhsanoğlu’s bid would act independently, he also hinted that a coordination center with the participation of representatives from the CHP, MHP and other political parties, as well as NGOs, would be established. A parliamentary group deputy leader from the CHP and the MHP will be present at this center, he added.

Before İhsanoğlu’s official registration, Kılıçdaroğlu will hold another meeting with him in the coming days to get a letter of consent. The expectation is that the CHP-MHP parliamentary group leaders will organize their lawmakers to collect signatures for the official appointment of İhsanoğlu after June 29.

CHP leader explains the selection in 10 articles

Facing criticism from some CHP lawmakers over the nomination of İhsanoğlu, instead of a figure representing the party’s traditional identity, Kılıçdaroğlu once again explained why they had chosen to appoint such a figure.

“We have been saying the same thing from the very beginning. The one who will be elected is going to be Turkey’s president and not the CHP’s. A president associated with a political party will not be impartial. We have said from the beginning that giving a political identity to the president is not correct,” he said in his weekly address to the CHP parliamentary group.

Upon his consultations, the CHP leader said he came to the conclusion that negatively determining who could not be the president would ease the search for a candidate. Kılıçdaroğlu cited these negative criteria in 10 articles: “Someone who does not believe in the separation of powers; someone who slaps his own citizens and divides them in camps; someone who turns anger and hate into a political language; someone who does not believe in rule of law; someone who does not believe in gender equality; someone who lies and whose moral values are low; someone who has no international respect; someone who does not believe in a democratic, secular and social state; someone whose knowledge is insufficient, someone who disrespects artists; and someone whose past is shady.”