Akşener to be presidential candidate from new party in 2019 election, former MHP deputy says

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(From L) Candidates for the leadership of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Ümit Özdağ, Meral Akşener, Sinan Ogan, Koray Aydın and Sait Gönen pose for photographs before the opening of MHP congress in Ankara, on June 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Meral Akşener, a popular political figure among voters in Turkey and a former Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy, will be the presidential candidate from her new party in the 2019 elections, former MHP deputy Koray Aydın announced on Wednesday.

Speaking to Fox TV Turkey during an interview on Wednesday, Aydın, who also announced that he would join Akşener’s new party, which is set to be established in October, said, “Our presidential candidate for the 2019 elections will be Meral Akşener.”

Underlining that preparations to establish the new party are ongoing, Aydın claimed Erdoğan’s name could not prevail as number one in the 2019 presidential election once Akşener’s name is announced as a candidate, according to the public surveys carried out by their group.

With the announcement of Aydın, Akşener became the second name as a presidential candidate after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the 2019 presidential election.

After adopting a critical stance against MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli and standing as a candidate for party leadership against him, Akşener was expelled by the MHP disciplinary committee in September 2016 by unanimous vote.

Akşener recently announced that a new political party that is to be “neither right, nor left” would be formed under her leadership in the early fall of 2017.

Several MHP provincial branch members resigned from their parties and former MHP deputies, including Aydın, joined Akşener to support her new party.

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