MHP suggests joint opposition candidate

MHP suggests joint opposition candidate

Şükrü Küçükşahin ANKARA / Hürriyet
MHP suggests joint opposition candidate

‘Turkey has unfortunately been polarized at the hands of the AKP. We do not want polarization,’ MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli says an interview. AA photo

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has suggested that the opposition should unite behind one candidate in the presidential election in August to stop the ruling party’s candidate.

“Turkey is going through very delicate times,” Bahçeli told daily Hürriyet in Parliament during the debate on the graft accusations against four former ministers.

The nationalist leader also criticized TV commentators who "talk "as if Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was already elected president."

“Turkey has unfortunately been polarized at the hands of the AKP [Justice and Development Party],” Bahçeli added. “We do not want polarization. That’s why we don’t approve of the presidency of a politician who is responsible for this polarization.”

Asked whether he would request support from other opposition parties, Bahçeli said he would talk to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) as the main opposition party, but also the Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi) and the Great Union Party (BBP).

Meeting faith groups

“If not sufficient, I’ll also go to various faith groups, including Alevis, to ask those who can contribute. I will not leave any doors unknocked. I will tell them, ‘The candidate we propose is not the MHP’s candidate but the president who can rule the country. It’s the first time that the president is being elected through popular vote. There should be no partisan outlook to that. Let’s get someone whose common ground is larger,’” he said.

Bahçeli also said Turkey was passing through a very crucial period and that parties should do it just once. “I openly say this, too: If there is anyone whose candidate is more embracing, we would take it into consideration and lend our support. This is how we think about this. Each party can introduce their own candidate as well, we’ll also respect this. But it should be known that this will further polarize the country. The remedy to that is what we propose,” he said.

The country’s next president should be someone who can "embrace the entire nation" and can run the state efficiently, he also said. “That’s why we are thinking day and night. We are continuing our consultations, but it won’t last long. I think we’ll wrap up in 10 or 15 days. Our candidate will be a surprise and everybody will ask ‘Where did they find this candidate?’” he said.

The MHP leader expressed optimism that such a candidate would be able to win the election over whoever the AKP nominates. “We’ll hit the road with someone who can win the elections. And we’ll introduce our candidate to the other political parties and representatives of civil society,” he said.

According to Bahçeli, the candidate for presidency should have five qualifications. “He/she should be nationalist, conservative, should carry moral values, should be secular and democratic,” he said.