Opposition CHP, İYİ in fresh row once again over presidential candidate
In a fresh row between two heavyweights of the Turkish opposition bloc, Good (İYİ) Party deputy chair Ümit Özlale has said that “If the CHP established the Table of Six to have (Kemal) Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidate approved, we are not the approval authority.”
Özlale recalled main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Bülent Kuşoğlu’s remarks, as the latter said in September that the main opposition bloc will be dissolved unless Kılıçdaroğlu is nominated.
Özlale added that they are not against Kılıçdaroğlu’s candidacy but rather the CHP officials’ approach.
“We’re definitely not saying ‘We don’t want Kılıçdaroğlu’. If two mayors (Yavaş and İmamoğlu) are proposed for candidacy, we will not say no to it. We want a candidate who will win the election,” Özlale told Ekonomim in an interview on Feb. 3.
He said that they will not leave the alliance if İmamoğlu or Yavaş will not be proposed, adding İYİ Party is the “most loyal members of the alliance.”
When asked “Kılıçdaroğlu said that the candidate will be determined on February 13 (during the summit of the opposition bloc). What do you think about this?”, Özlale said “We have no information about this. We learned this from Kılıçdaroğlu’s statement.”
“There is currently nothing concrete about how the candidate will be determined within 12 days,” he added.
“I have no question marks about the candidacy of the CHP leader. However, when you combine the 12-day schedule for the nomination of the candidacy and Bülent Kuşoğlu’s statement, it makes you question whether there was such an intention from the very beginning. Our objection is to this approach,” he said.
Özlale reminded that their deputy chair Cihan Paçacı resigned from his duty within the party after saying “If (main opposition CHP leader) Kılıçdaroğlu insists on running for office, the İYİ Party can field its own candidate.”
“Kuşoğlu did not resign (after saying the main opposition bloc will be dissolved unless Kılıçdaroğlu is nominated). If the CHP established the Table of Six to have Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidate approved, as Kuşoğlu said, we are not the approval authority,” he added.
While there are rumors that İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener favors CHP’s Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu instead of Kılıçdaroğlu, some senior CHP figures claimed that Kılıçdaroğlu will be their candidate against Erdoğan. Kılıçdaroğlu also expressed his desire to take the role on many occasions.
The Nation Alliance, also known as the Table of Six, is the political alliance of the six opposition parties that are united to change Turkey’s presidential regime to “strengthened parliamentary system”, consisting the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), centre-right İYİ (Good) Party, Islamist Felicity (Saadet) Party, Democrat Party (DP), DEVA (Democracy and Progress) Party and Future (Gelecek) Party.
Some experts say that CHP’s Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu or Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş should run for presidency because Kılıçdaroğlu may not attract enough conservative voters from the ruling alliance. They express that Erdoğan’s election campaign may prevail against Kılıçdaroğlu because of the former’s rhetoric.
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