Muharrem İnce, leader of the Homeland Party (MP), on March 25 gathered 100,000 signatures from citizens and became the third presidential candidate after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Nation Alliance’s joint candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
100,000 signatures is a requirement to be a presidential candidate in Turkey for those whose parties have no group in the parliament, or for those who are not affiliated with a party.
In a post on his social media account, İnce stated, "Thank you Turkey. Thank you, Beautiful People of the Country. Thank you My Children. 100 thousand signatures are collected. There is no restlessness, keep signing until Monday at 20.00".
Teşekkürler Türkiye, Teşekkürler Memleketin Güzel İnsanları, Teşekkürler Evlatlarım 💙— Muharrem İNCE (@vekilince) March 25, 2023
100 bin imza TAMAM
Rehavet yok, pazartesi saat 20.00’ye kadar imza vermeye DEVAM.
İnce's candidacy is regarded as preventing the whole opposition from uniting. He argues that Turkey needs to get rid of both the government and the main opposition.
In the 2018 elections, İnce had run as the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) presidential candidate and received 30 percent of the votes. On March 20, he claimed that he will garner 60 percent of the votes in this election which is scheduled to be held on May 14.
After losing the 2018 presidential elections, İnce's relationship with the CHP began to deteriorate. In 2021, he resigned from the party in order to found his "Homeland Movement." In the same year, he and several former CHP members formed the Homeland Party as an alternative "Kemalist" party.
On the other hand, the High Election Board accepted the presidential candidacy applications of Hilmi Özden, Halil Murat Ünver, Yakup Türkal, Ahmet Özal, Sinan Oğan, Muharrem İnce, Doğu Perinçek, İrfan Uzun, Davut Turan, and Erkan Trükten. They need to collect 100,000 signatures until March 27.
As of March 25, Sinan Oğan, candidate of the ultra-nationalist ATA Alliance, gathered 57,976 signatures, and Doğu Perinçek, leader of the neo-nationalist Patriotic Party (Vatan), gathered 19,653 signatures. Others, mostly infamous figures, gathered signatures below 1,000.
Fatih Erbakan announced on March 24 that they were joining the ruling People's Alliance and withdrew from the candidacy.