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Nationalist opposition leader pledges support for Kılıçdaroğlu in presidential runoff

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Meral Akşener, the leader of Turkey’s nationalist opposition Good (İYİ) Party, broke her weeklong silence after Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, saying she and her party will do everything necessary to ensure victory for opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Turkey will hold a runoff on May 28 since initial results from the May 14 presidential election showed incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan failing to secure a win against his secular rival, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu.

According to official results, Erdoğan received 49.52 percent of the vote, while Kılıçdaroğlu, the candidate of the Nation Alliance, an opposition bloc of six political parties, garnered 44.88 percent.

The Public Alliance, formed by Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), its far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Islamist New Welfare Party (YRP) and the nationalist Grand Unity Party (BBP), secured a parliamentary majority, garnering 321 of 600 seats in total.

Akşener announced today that she had given her consent for Kılıçdaroğlu to negotiate on her behalf with Sinan Oğan and Muharrem İnce, presidential candidates in the first round who garnered 5.17 and 0.43 percent of the vote, respectively.

Akşener emphasized the party’s unwavering commitment to ensuring Kılıçdaroğlu’s election as president. She revealed plans to hold meetings with individuals who did not cast their vote for Erdoğan in the May 14 election. Additionally, she outlined an extensive fieldwork campaign in İstanbul, which includes visits to local associations and conducting house meetings.

Akşener underscored the significance of Kılıçdaroğlu’s victory in order to restore a balance within the system, particularly since the Public Alliance currently controls the parliament. She called on people who did not support either Kılıçdaroğlu or Erdoğan in the election to rally behind Kılıçdaroğlu in the runoff.

Akşener further revealed that there would be no rallies conducted during the campaign period and that the party’s strategy would revolve around individually persuading voters.

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