The İYİ (Good) Party’s Meral Akşener collected the 100,000 signatures necessary to officially become a presidential candidate during the first four hours of her campaign, according to the T24 news website, making her the first independent candidate to be acknowledged by the Supreme Election Board (YSK).
Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24. If none of the candidates can garner over 50 percent of the vote in the first round, then a second round will determine the president. According to the law, a politician cannot stand as a candidate for both president and a member of parliament.
Previously, 15 deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) joined the İYİ Party as part of a tactical move to enable the new party to run in the snap presidential and parliamentary elections.
However, Akşener wanted to apply to the YSK as an independent candidate in order to show that she could collect the 100,000 signatures needed.
‘We are right to trust our nation,’ said Akşener after meeting with supporters in İstanbul’s Üsküdar district.
While the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) applied to the YSK to field current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as their candidate, the CHP also announced Yalova deputy Muharrem İnce as their selection on Friday morning.
Felicity Party (SP) Chairman Temel Karamollaoğlu and Homeland Party (VP) leader Doğu Perinçek are among other applicants, but none of them had received the necessary support as of Friday. The YSK expects them to submit 100,000 signatures in the next five workdays.