Turkey’s opposition splits as Aksener rejects presidential candidate | News

The IYI party leader rejects the candidacy of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party.

Turkey’s right-wing IYI ​​party leader Meral Aksener has said the country’s six-party opposition alliance no longer reflected the national will, signaling her party’s withdrawal from the grouping ahead of May elections.

Aksener told a press conference on Friday that the IYI Party’s proposed presidential candidates, the mayors of Istanbul and Ankara, were not accepted by the other five parties, and urged the mayors to do their duty, in an apparent invitation to them to run as candidates.

The five other parties in the alliance had agreed on Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), as their joint candidate to challenge President Tayyip Erdogan in the May 14 election.

After a meeting on Thursday, the alliance had said it would announce its joint candidate on Monday to challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presidential election, with little more than two months to go before the May vote.

However, Aksener’s position may now make it even more difficult for the opposition to defeat Erdogan.

“Government circles have criticized the opposition for not being able to come up with a common presidential candidate so far,” said Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Ankara.

She added that for a long time there was a division of opinion among the opposition alliance consisting of six parties.

Aksener is against the candidacy of Kilicdaroglu because she said that, according to opinion polls, he does not have much chance against Erdogan, the Al Jazeera correspondent said.

“When she joined the alliance, her party was around nine percent, and now its popularity has gone up to around 17 percent, according to opinion polls,” Koseoglu said.

Big challenge for Erdogan

The opposition has failed in previous national polls to mount a serious challenge to Erdogan, who has been in power for two decades but has seen his popularity decline amid a cost-of-living crisis even before last month’s earthquake that killed at least 45,000 people in Turkey.

Erdogan indicated on Wednesday that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held on May 14, sticking to an earlier plan for the vote and undeterred by the earthquakes that followed criticism of his government’s response.

Ekrem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas, the CHP mayors of Istanbul and Ankara respectively, have been voiced as candidates and polls have indicated they could outperform Kilicdaroglu against Erdogan.

Turkey’s opposition has been cooperating more closely since its success in wresting control of major municipalities, including Istanbul and Ankara, from Erdogan’s AK Party in 2019 local elections.

But disunity in the opposition alliance has raised doubts about its ability to capitalize on the erosion in Erdogan’s popularity that opinion polls show.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *