Despite agreement of leaders, MP says Kılıçdaroğlu’s candidacy is 'forced on' İYİ Party

Opposition İYİ Party lawmaker Yavuz Ağıralioğlu has stated that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidacy is "forced on" his party which is a part of the main opposition Nation Alliance. His remarks came 16 days after six leaders of the alliance, including İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener, agreed upon Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy.

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Turkish right-wing opposition Good (İYİ) Party lawmaker and its former deputy chair Yavuz Ağıralioğlu said on March 22 that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidacy is “forced on" his party.

In a press conference held in the parliament in the capital Ankara, Ağıralioğlu said “We are ambushed at the Table (of Six) we are the founder of. We are not disturbed by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy. But we are against it is being forced on.”

“We should aim for 60-70 percent in the election. First, we objected due to the fear of losing. Then, we opposed this forceful candidacy (of Kılıçdaroğlu). In addition, we opposed the elimination of the candidacy of mayors (Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş). We said it was unfair to the electorate,” he said.

“Instead of the strengthened parliamentary system, the strengthened Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu model was presented,” Ağıralioğlu said, referring to the parliamentary system model of the Nation Alliance that six opposition leaders want to implement should they assume power.

The main opposition bloc Nation Alliance consists of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Good (İYİ) Party, Felicity (Saadet) Party, Democrat Party, Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party, and Future Party.

Ağıralioğlu reminded that the Labor and Freedom Alliance, which includes the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), will not field a candidate and added that they do not want to be involved “in an equation where the shadow of terror falls.”

“The efforts of the İYİ Party were wasted. I object to the violation of the agreement in the candidacy of Kılıçdaroğlu. I reject all irregularities in the nomination process,” he added.

İYİ Party lawmaker also said "I am speaking on behalf of myself, not my party."

As of late March 22, there is no official announcement for Ağıralioğlu's remarks from İYİ Party or its leader Meral Akşener.

His remarks came 16 days after six leaders of the alliance, including İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener, agreed upon Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy.

An important ally of the Nation Alliance, İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener on March 3 publicly rejected Kılıçdaroğlu's presidential candidacy despite other parties in the alliance agreeing upon him, saying his candidacy is being imposed on the İYİ Party.

This move came one day after six leaders, including Akşener, said they "reached a common understanding" on their joint presidential candidate.

One day later, Akşener said she was supporting CHP mayors İmamoğlu and Yavaş as candidates amid polls that indicated they could perform better against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

"İYİ Party has been forced to an imposition in a grabbing way, and forced to make a choice between death and malaria," Akşener said, referring to Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.

She called Yavaş and İmamoğlu to take on the role and nominate themselves, but both mayors once again announced their support for the CHP leader.

She later returned to the alliance after the leaders agreed upon the vice presidencies of İmamoğlu and Yavaş. Akşener later expressed that she was happy with this solution. Other five leaders will also be vice presidents should Kılıçdaroğlu assume power.