Election watchdog OKs Erdoğan’s candidacy, rejects appeals

Election watchdog OKs Erdoğan’s candidacy, rejects appeals

Election watchdog OKs Erdoğan’s candidacy, rejects appeals

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) has approved President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s bid to run for the presidency in May polls and formally announced that the presidential race will be held between four contenders.

YSK President Ahmet Yener announced the decisions taken by the election watchdog after some political parties applied for the annulment of Erdoğan’s candidacy on the grounds that he was already elected twice as the head of the nation in 2014 and 2018. They cited the constitutional limitation, which says “any person can be elected for the president two times.”

Yener said the decision was taken anonymously by the judges at the watchdog and in line with articles 77, 101, 106 and 116 of the Turkish constitution. He also informed that the appeals against Homeland Party leader Muharrem İnce and Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu have also been rejected.

“After this decision, there are four formally approved candidates for the presidential elections: Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Muharrem İnce, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Sinan Oğan. They will be published in the Official Gazette later,” he stressed.

Kılıçdaroğlu and Erdoğan will run as the candidates of the Nation Alliance and People Alliance, respectively, while İnce and Oğan receive the support of more than 100,000 people to run in the elections.

In the meantime, İnce, who had a meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu late on March 29, will likely continue his bid despite insistent calls for his withdrawal to the advantage of the latter.

“We are trying to expand the [opposition] table. We want to protect the rights of our citizens. The problems we are facing are the problems of Türkiye and not our personal matters. Mr. İnce is as sensitive as I am to these problems,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in his brief statement.

İnce, for his part, repeated that the alliances should focus on values rather than interests and implied that the six-party opposition alliance cannot deliver even though it comes to power.

“Our values are very clear. We won’t allow any discussion on [modern Türkiye founder Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk. We are against terror, against the PKK, the FETÖ and Hizbullah. No step back on the rights of women, and we are committed to sending the refugees back to their country,” he said.

He also stressed Erdoğan should not run Türkiye even for five minutes. But on a question, İnce said he did not hint that he would withdraw his candidacy, although he is firmly against the continued leadership of Erdoğan.

In a televised interview later yesterday, İnce said the pollsters show his vote around 16 percent in the presidential polls. The opposition alliance says İnce’s candidacy puts the winning chances of the presidential race in the first round at potential risk.