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Turkey’s main opposition leader reiterates desire to run for president in 2023

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

“I am ready [to stand as a candidate] if the ‘Table of Six’ agrees on my name,” Kılıçdaroğlu said during an interview on Fox TV on Monday.

The “Table of Six” refers to the leaders of the the Felicity Party (SP), the İYİ (Good) Party, the Future Party (GP), the Democrat Party (DP) and the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) in addition to Kılıçdaroğlu.

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, set up by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Grand Unity Party (BBP), the Table of Six has not yet announced its candidate.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the Table of Six first set out the desired attributes of their presidential candidate — a person with basic decency, high moral values and no involvement in corruption.

He said the 13th president of the Turkish Republic will be elected based on a consensus among the leaders of the six opposition parties.

The popular CHP mayors of İstanbul and Ankara, Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş, respectively, are mentioned as possible candidates in addition to Kılıçdaroğlu, who had earlier expressed his desire to run for president.

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.

The leaders of the six opposition parties signed a declaration in February confirming their resolve to introduce a “strengthened parliamentary system” should they unseat President Erdoğan in the 2023 elections.

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