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Turkey’s opposition bloc to determine its presidential candidate on March 2

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A bloc of opposition parties in Turkey will determine their joint presidential candidate at a meeting on March 2, the Birgün daily reported on Tuesday, citing  a spokesperson for the İYİ (Good) Party.

İYİ Party spokesperson Kürşad Zorlu said the Nation Alliance, which comprises the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in addition to the İYİ Party and four other small opposition parties, will hold a meeting on March 2 at which they will agree on a joint presidential candidate.

Normally, the opposition bloc, which is criticized for being too late to announce their candidate, would have revealed the name of their candidate on Feb. 13, but they had to postpone it due to two powerful earthquakes that hit the country’s south on Feb. 6, killing more than 45,000 people.

Before the earthquakes, May 14 had been set as the date for the presidential and parliamentary elections, but there is now a possibility that elections will be held on their initially scheduled date in June.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has ruled out the prospect of postponing the elections, although some figures close to the party called for their postponement for a year due to post-earthquake recovery efforts.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is facing the toughest election in his career due to what many say is his government’s poor handling of the disaster accompanied by the country’s poor economy, has already announced that he will run for the top state post as the joint candidate of the Public Alliance, consisting of his AKP, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the nationalist Grand Unity Party (BBP).

Among the possible candidates of the Nation Alliance are CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and Ankara Mayor Mansu Yavaş, both from the CHP.

Those two mayors ended the years-long AKP rule in their cities in the 2019 local elections, and opinion surveys show them enjoying significant support among voters as possible presidential candidates.

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