Ankara Mayor Yavaş says he’d win election if he were presidential candidate

Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş has stated that he would win the 2023 presidential election if he were nominated as the opposition’s joint candidate. Yavaş also commented on İYİ Party leader Akşener’s departure from the opposition alliance at the time by calling Yavaş’s or İmamoğlu’s candidacy, and implied that she was not sincere in her call.

Duvar English

Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on March 6 commented on the presidential candidate selection process of the Table of Six, the main opposition alliance, back in 2023.

Speaking during a Habertürk TV broadcast, Yavaş said he would win the 2023 presidential election if the main opposition bloc, Table of Six, also called as Nation Alliance, nominated him. 

Yavaş said these remarks while commenting on İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener’s call for either him or Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu to run for the presidency at the time, which led to her temporary departure from the alliance.

“I am blamed for 'not being a candidate' (by the İYİ Party). If she really wanted me to be a candidate, she can't just say 'Come on and be a candidate,' I am registered in another party (CHP). She could have called me a day ago (of her announcement) and said, 'I will make an offer, would you consider something like this?',” Yavaş said.

He said Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu had told Meral Akşener that “If you think Mr. Yavaş should be a candidate, let me offer him to the table.”

Yavaş reminded that he had said he would be the candidate if the Table of Six nominated him. “I already said I would be the candidate if there was unanimity. I think I would win. I do not want to talk more about this. We are in the run-up to the local elections.”

Yavaş also criticized Akşener who recently said “An operation is being carried out against our party” over the resignations from the İYİ Party. “İYİ Party heads in 23 (Ankara) districts said ‘Let's enter (the mayoral race) together with Mansur Yavaş.’ When this view was not accepted, the majority of them resigned. An MP and provincial head resigned. Almost all district heads resigned. There is no such thing as an operation, we did not told them to 'resign'.”

Responding to Yavaş, Meral Akşener on March 7 said Yavaş "was afraid to accept the people's demand and could not show the courage (to run for the presidency). He couldn't fight. After all, those days are gone."

After the 2023 general and presidential elections, the İYİ Party parted ways with the Nation Alliance, arguing the alliance system harms the country and their party identity. The party also nominated mayoral candidates for key provinces, including Istanbul and Ankara, for the local elections to be held on March 31, a move which they refrained to do in 2019.

Meral Akşener’s call for İmamoğlu, Yavaş to run for presidency and her departure from the alliance

Akşener on March 3, 2023, publicly rejected then-CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidacy despite other parties in the alliance agreeing upon him, saying his candidacy is being imposed on the İYİ Party.

One day later, Akşener said she was supporting CHP Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and CHP Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş as candidates amid polls indicating they could perform better against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. She later returned to the alliance after the leaders agreed upon the vice presidencies of İmamoğlu and Yavaş.

Kılıçdaroğlu was eventually nominated as the joint presidential candidate of the main opposition Nation Alliance and lost the election to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by receiving 47.82 percent of the votes in the second round of the race.

The Nation Alliance included the main opposition CHP, İYİ Party, Felicity (Saadet) Party, Democrat Party, Future (Gelecek) Party, and Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party.

After the elections, the İYİ Party departed from the Nation Alliance, which led to some resignations from the party members as they were against such a move.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, from which the İYİ Party splinted, called on the İYİ Party to join the ruling alliance on many occasions.