Kurdish problem-focused HDP announces co-chair Demirtaş as presidential candidate
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has announced party co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş as its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections in August. AA PhotoThe Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has announced party co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş as its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections in August, making him second contender for the bid after the opposition’s joint candidate, Ekmelettin İhsanoğlu. The HDP, which could become the kingmaker in a possible second round, had previously stated that it would run with its own candidate during the first round of polls on Aug. 10.
The announcement was made by Prof. Gençay Gürsoy during a press conference held in an Ankara hotel yesterday, using the maxim “Selahattin Demirtaş: The candidate of the people and change.”
“I will undertake this responsibility, although I am aware that there are so many of our friends eligible to fulfil this task. I thank the HDP for anonymously nominating me for the post,” Demirtaş said in his address after the announcement. “We will make sure that we are not running for Çankaya as just one individual. It’s the first time that we, as a people, are candidates for Çankaya. Çankaya is an Ankara district where the presidential compound is located and is often used by politicians in reference to presidency. “We have already won this election. We represent a principle, a line that has won the elections to the advantage of the people,” he stressed.
Demirtaş has become the second official candidate for the elections after the two opposition parties submitted their petition for Ekmelettin İhsanoğlu, an academic-diplomat. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) will announce its candidate today in a lavish meeting with expectations that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will run for the post.
Three candidates, two lines
“For the time being, there are three candidates. But in fact, there are two who are running for the elections: Those who represent the statist’s ideology and lord it over the people, and the people’s candidate. We are coming from within the scope of the people,” Demirtaş stressed. “Under our rule, the era of the scowling, serious state will end. We will show that the state can also be managed in convivial way,” he said.
One point lacking is the absence of female candidates for presidency, Demirtaş said, calling on women to vote for the HDP to uphold their status in the society.
Although the HDP has around 6.5 percent of votes, Demirtaş is expected to receive more than just his party’s votes, given that leftists and socialists unhappy with the CHP’s selection of İhsanoğlu could also vote for him in the first round of elections. Although Demirtaş has little chance to win the elections, the HDP’s votes will be crucial in the second round of voting on Aug. 24, if Erdoğan or İhsnaoğlu do not take the majority of votes in the first leg.
Demirtaş was first elected to Parliament in 2007 and became the co-chairperson of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in 2010, along with Gültan Kışanak. He led the BDP until last week before moving to the HDP as its co-chairman with Figen Yüksekdağ, formerly of the Socialist Party for the Oppressed (ESP). Demirtaş, 41, is a graduate of Ankara University Law Faculty and is married with two children.