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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call for snap elections in the country has widely viewed by the observers as an attempt to preserve his grip on power. However, the secular opposition groups seem to be more united than ever to challenge his position.
کد خبر: ۷۹۶۱۷۱
تاریخ انتشار: ۱۵ ارديبهشت ۱۳۹۷ - ۱۴:۱۱ 05 May 2018

Tabnak – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call for snap elections in the country has widely viewed by the observers as an attempt to preserve his grip on power. However, the secular opposition groups seem to be more united than ever to challenge his position.

In this vein, Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has presented senior legislator Muharrem Ince as its presidential candidate to challenge incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the country’s June presidential elections.

The CHP leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, announced Ince’s candidacy for the June 24 snap poll on Friday at a packed hall of party meeting in the capital Ankara, alleging that “democracy is under threat” in the Anatolian country under Erdogan, while also touching on the slumping economy and issues in education and foreign policy.

Kilicdaroglu, then, put a Turkish flag pin on Ince, in a symbolic show of neutrality, saying, “A president should embrace 80 million people.”

Muharrem Ince is staunchly secular and a fiery critic of Erdogan. He has been an MP since 2002. Naming Ince as a presidential candidate comes as the CHP plans to ally for the first time with right-wing parties, in the hope of beating Erdogan.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, four major opposition parties announced Wednesday that they will form an alliance in the June 24 elections in an attempt to unseat Erdogan. The coalition, dubbed the Democracy Alliance in the Turkish press, consists of the CHP, the Islamist Saadet Party, the right-wing Democratic Party and the center-right Iyi Party.

The alliance, which follows weeks of frantic meetings between opposition political leaders, would allow each party to be represented in parliament, bypassing a decades-old law that requires that a party receive at least 10% of votes to be granted a portion of the 600 seats in the legislature. Although the alliance will work together for parliamentary seats, each party is fielding its own presidential candidate.

Polls show Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and its allied right-wing Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, garnering about 50% of votes. It appears the opposition, if it can field a candidate that draws on the broad discontent with the government, could force the longtime leader into a runoff and possibly a second-round defeat.

In another development, the pro-Kurdish HDP, Turkey's second-largest opposition party, has announced its imprisoned former leader Selahattin Demirtas as its candidate. The declaration was made in simultaneous events in Istanbul and Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey's predominately Kurdish southeast.

Demirtas is facing more than 100 years in jail on terrorism charges under Turkey's emergency rule, introduced after the failed 2016 coup. Even though he is in jail, he can still run in presidential elections under the election laws — until convicted.

With the HDP having around 10 percent of the vote, their support, analysts say, is vital for any candidate seeking to defeat Erdogan, who remains the clear front-runner.

All in all, observers say with the opposition parties all fielding strong candidates, Erdogan for the first time, faces challenges from across the political spectrum.

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