Turkey's main opposition alliance 'reaches common understanding' on presidential candidate

After their meeting, the leaders of the six opposition parties of the Nation Alliance (Millet İttifakı) have released a statement, saying they "reached a common understanding" on their joint presidential candidate and the transition process should they assume power in the upcoming elections. The leaders said they will share their final statement on this issue after meeting again on March 6.

Duvar English

Turkey's opposition Nation Alliance on March 2 announced that they "reached a common understanding" on who will be their presidential candidate.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), İYİ (Good) Party, Felicity Party (SP), the Democratic Party (DP), DEVA Party, and Future Party leaders met for the 12th time at the SP Headquarters.

After their meeting, the leaders released a statement, saying "We have reached a common understanding on our joint presidential candidate and the transition process (after the elections)."

"We will meet again to share the final statement with the public on March 6, 2023, after the chairs inform the authorized boards of their parties," they added.

While leaving the SP Headquarters, Kılıçdaroğlu left the questions of "Are you the candidate?" unanswered.

Many names have been discussed so far for the joint presidential candidacy. Although CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's name has come to the fore in the discussions that have been going on for nearly a year, the support for and debates on Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş have continued.

There are rumors that İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener favors CHP’s Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu instead of Kılıçdaroğlu, some senior CHP figures claimed that Kılıçdaroğlu will be their candidate against Erdoğan. Kılıçdaroğlu on many occasions expressed that he will run for the office if six leaders decide on him.

Some İYİ Party executives publicly rejected Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy.

Prior to the meeting, CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu received "full authority to decide on all processes regarding the presidential election" from his party's Parliamentary Group and Party Assembly. 

IYI Party leader Meral Akşener also convened her party's "Expanded Presidency Council" and General Administrative Board and received the opinions of the executives. 

On Feb. 24, Gültekin Uysal, the chair of the DP, said that they want Kılıçdaroğlu to be the candidate.

The Nation Alliance, also known as the “Table of Six,” includes the six opposition parties that are united to change Turkey’s presidential regime to “strengthened parliamentary system.”

The bloc does not include Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). HDP executives expressed that they will field their own candidate if excluded from the talks of the Table of Six

While there were discussions about postponing the elections after the earthquakes that hit southeastern Turkey on Feb. 6, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled that the election will be held on May 14.

In line with the statement, the presidential decision to hold early election must be published in the Official Gazette on March 10. After this decision is published, the Supreme Electoral Council will announce the 60-day election calendar on March 13.