Opposition debating idea of joint candidate for presidency
The former leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) and Antalya deputy Deniz Baykal visited his successor Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu late on May 5. AA PhotoIn preparation for the run-up to a two-round presidential election scheduled for August, opposition parties have started to consider nominating a joint candidate.
The idea behind a joint candidate is to name the strongest possible competitor to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate, who will most likely be Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The elections scheduled for August will be different to those of the past, as Turks will be electing their president through direct voting for the first time.
The former leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) and Antalya deputy Deniz Baykal visited his successor Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu late on May 5. During the lengthy meeting Kılıçdaroğlu’s office at Parliament, Baykal suggested that the CHP head should meet with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in order to reach a consensus on a joint nomination for the presidency.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Baykal admitted that the presidential elections had come onto the agenda and proposed that the CHP and the MHP should agree on a joint candidate.
However, Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said the MHP is cold to the idea of a joint candidate, a position that Baykal believes could change.
Baykal also reportedly said the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) should be included in such an attempt against the AKP’s candidate.
The HDP, however, made its objection to such an idea clear, with its co-leader Ertuğrul Kürkçü labeling the main opposition party’s quest “authoritarianism.”
Kürkçü said Turkey was facing the prospect of the ruling AKP exploiting the presidential election as a tool to fortify its power.
“Baykal’s proposal, saying ‘Let the CHP make an alliance with the MHP,’ shows the presence of Islamist authoritarianism on one side and nationalist authoritarianism on the other. No, we will not be a part of this polarization. We will nominate our own presidential candidate as the joint power of everybody excluded by this system,” he said, speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on May 6.
“Bring it on, nominate your candidates, you will see that you are not the sole power and that Turkey has a third power. This power will offer the opportunity to breathe in Turkey. We will say ‘no,’ to those who tell us ‘Choose one of the dictatorial powers,’” he added