Turkey’s main opposition leader signals he may run for president in 2023

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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has said he would stand as a candidate in Turkey’s next presidential election in 2023 if an alliance his party belongs to agrees on his candidacy.

When asked during a live interview on Haber Global TV on Tuesday night if he would like to be a presidential candidate, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “If the alliance accepts it, there’s no problem. We have an alliance. The leaders of the alliance have not yet come together to discuss the issue. I am not authorized to speak on behalf of the alliance. If the alliance approves of my candidacy, I’ll be very proud.”

Kılıçdaroğlu’s CHP is a part of the Nation (Millet) Alliance along with the İYİ (Good) Party and some small opposition parties. The alliance was established before the general and presidential elections of 2018. Their rival is the Public (Cumhur) Alliance set up by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Grand Unity Party (BBP).

Although President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is now serving his second term in the top state post, will be the presidential candidate of the Public Alliance, the Nation Alliance has not yet announced its candidate.

The names of the popular CHP mayors of İstanbul and Ankara, Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş, are mentioned as possible candidates in addition to Kılıçdaroğlu.

The president is elected for a five-year-term in Turkey under the presidential system of governance, to which Turkey switched from a parliamentary system following a referendum in 2017. The new system went into effect following Erdoğan’s election in 2018, granting the president vast powers while weakening the parliament and the separation of powers.

In the meantime, journalist Barış Yarkadaş claimed on a TV program on Tuesday that the name of the Nation Alliance will be changed to the Great Nation Alliance with the inclusion of the opposition Gelecek (Future) and Deva Parties. Both parties were established by the former AKP heavyweights, by former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and former deputy prime minister and finance minister Ali Babacan, who parted ways with the AKP due to their criticism of the party’s policies.

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