Turkey opposition names fiery lawmaker as Erdogan challenger

by Garry Watts May 5, 2018, 1:25
Turkey opposition names fiery lawmaker as Erdogan challenger

Turkey's main opposition party on Friday nominated Muharrem Ince, a firebrand member of parliament, as its candidate for the snap presidential elections set for June 24.

The coalition, which is expected to be announced Thursday, will include the Republican People's Party, or CHP, the İyi Party, the Islamist Saadet Party and Democrat Party.

It will enable the smaller parties in the alliance to skirt a regulation that mandates parties must receive at least 10 percent of the vote to enter parliament. Tayyip Erdogan will participate in the vote, as a candidate from our People's Alliance.

Notably absent from the alliance is Turkey's third largest party, the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, which will also announce its presidential candidate today.

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His candidature will be formally submitted to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Friday by Yildirim and MHP leader Devlet Bahceli. Erdogan, 64, was first elected president in August 2014.

After the elections, a new presidential system agreed in an April 2017 referendum which critics claim gives the head of state authoritarian powers will come into force.

"Some people may look for their presidential candidates by microscope, but we have already decided on our candidate".

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which is also strongly hostile to Erdogan, has named charismatic former leader Selahattin Demirtas as its presidential candidate even though he is now behind bars and on trial.

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