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Far-right leader says he wants to see Kılıçdaroğlu as opposition bloc’s presidential candidate

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Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), has hinted that he wants to see main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as the presidential candidate for an opposition bloc of six parties in next year’s elections, local media reported on Monday.

Turkey will hold parliamentary and presidential elections in 2023. Although President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is now serving his second term as head of state, will be the presidential candidate of the Public Alliance, set up by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the far-right MHP and the Grand Unity Party (BBP), the opposition bloc, known as the “Table of Six,” has not yet announced its candidate.

The Table of Six refers to the leaders of 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, chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Bahçeli on Monday answered journalists’ questions in parliament regarding a survey to determine the presidential candidate of the opposition bloc.

“If someone approached me with a survey and said … ‘Who would you say yes to [as the presidential candidate] in this survey?’ then my choice would be my classmate,” Bahçeli said, referring to Kılıçdaroğlu, who also studied at the Ankara Economic and Commercial Sciences Academy.

The Diken news website reported in late October that the Table of Six was preparing a survey that covers all cities and social groups in Turkey in order to determine their presidential candidate in the near future, citing rumors circulating in Ankara.

The six leaders will decide on the timeline and the polling companies that will conduct the surveys and will be ready to determine their candidate once they have the results, according to Diken.

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