Ali Babacan, leader of the opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), has once again stated that he would run for president in the 2023 election with the joint support of the opposition bloc, the Demirören News Agency (DHA) reported on Wednesday.
Babacan, who is also a former Justice and Development Party (AKP) heavyweight, spoke to reporters after visiting a founding member of his party in southeastern Diyarbakır province to offer his condolences for the passing of his wife.
He said he could run for the presidency if the “Table of Six” nominates him as their joint presidential candidate in the upcoming election, adding that he could be chosen as the next president of Turkey and would serve the country to the best of his ability.
The Table of Six, an opposition bloc of six parties, pledged in late February to return the country to parliamentary democracy and scrap the executive presidential system introduced by current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after a referendum in 2017 should they unseat him in the 2023 elections.
The leaders of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Felicity Party (SP), the İYİ (Good) Party, the Future Party (GP), the Democrat Party (DP) and DEVA had signed a declaration confirming their resolve to introduce a “strengthened parliamentary system” if they manage to unseat Erdoğan.
Babacan also said that his party is “open” to all kinds of other options, including nominating another opposition party leader from the Table of Six or someone outside the bloc, as long as their candidate has the joint support of the bloc.
The DEVA leader said back in May that if the opposition alliance fails to nominate a joint presidential candidate, he would run as a presidential candidate and not for parliamentary membership in 2023, when Turkey will hold both parliamentary and presidential elections.
The opposition bloc has not yet named a presidential candidate.
Erdoğan was first elected president for a five-year renewable term in 2014 by a direct vote under the parliamentary system. Turkey switched to a presidential system of governance with a referendum in 2017 and held snap presidential and parliamentary polls in 2018, when Erdoğan was elected president again. Under the presidential system, a person can be elected president for a five-year renewable term if the election is held as scheduled.
Erdoğan is expected to be the presidential candidate of the Public Alliance, which includes his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), for the 2023 election.