The Turkish opposition will field a joint candidate in the presidential election

The Turkish opposition will field a joint candidate in the presidential election

The Turkish opposition will field a common candidate in the presidential elections

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the main opposition People's Republican Party in Turkey.

Ankara – Six opposition parties in Turkey today agreed on a common candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. He will be Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, head of the main opposition People's Republican Party (CHP). The largest pro-Kurdish opposition party has announced that it is ready to negotiate on the support of Kiliçdaroglu, Reuters reported.

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The presidential election, likely to be held together with parliamentary elections on May 14, is seen as a test for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in power for 20 years. Polls predict a close election battle, with the opposition alliance currently slightly ahead.

The six opposition parties reached an agreement after Meral Akşenerová, chairperson of the Party of Good (IYI Parti), whose party is the second strongest opposition party according to polls, returned to negotiations on a common candidate today. Akşenerova announced last week that she does not support Kiliçdaroglu – the candidate of the remaining five parties of the opposition coalition.

“Based on our meetings, we decided that Kemal Kiliçdaroglu will run for president,” Reuters quoted Temel Karamollaoglu, the chairman of one of the parties forming the opposition bloc.

The 74-year-old economist and social democratic politician Kiliçdaroglu has been the head of the CHP since 2010, which is the second strongest party in the country. If elected, he promised a return to prosperity and a democratic parliamentary system. In the election race, he could benefit from the difficulties of the Erdogan administration, which is not succeeding in extricating Turkey from the economic crisis that has lasted for several years, or from the effects of the catastrophic earthquake that claimed 46,000 lives in early February and fueled criticism about the insufficient state aid.

Mithat Sancar – co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish opposition People's Democratic Party (HDP), which is not part of the opposition bloc – said his group could support Kiliçdaroglu after “clean and open” negotiations. “Our clear expectation is the transition to a strong democracy. If we agree on the basic principles, we can support him in the presidential elections,” he said on private TV Habertürk.

Erdogan is reshaping Turkey during his two decades of rule according to his vision of a pious and conservative society and an active regional power. He has never faced such a serious electoral opponent since the election victory of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002, Reuters reported. the president's desire to keep interest rates low. While these support economic growth, they cause the lira to fall and increase inflation.

Opposition parties have been working more closely together since their success in local elections in 2019, which ousted Erdogan's AKP from control of Istanbul, Ankara and other major cities in Turkey.