4 Turkish Opposition Parties Form Alliance Amid June Polls

The main opposition party in Turkey, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), reached on Wednesday an alliance with three other oppositions parties for the coming elections.

A CHP official, who talked on state of namelessness, disclosed to Reuters that the arrangement was struck between the CHP, the youngster Iyi (Good) Party, the Islamist Saadet Party and the Democrat Party.

An official announcement over the deal will be made on Thursday.

This will enable the smaller parties in the alliance to skirt a regulation that mandates parties must receive at least 10 percent of the vote to enter parliament.

The deal creates a broad coalition against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling alliance.

Erdogan’s ruling AK Party has established an alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Broadcaster NTV said the opposition alliance deal would be signed at 3 pm (1200 GMT) on Thursday. A deadline of May 6 was set for election alliances to be filed with the High Election Board.

The CHP had on Tuesday said that it will reveal on Friday its candidate to challenge Erdogan.

There has been frenetic speculation over who the CHP will nominate, with CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu hinting it would not be him and observers generally at a loss to suggest an obvious name.

Spokesmen Bulent Tezcan did not confirm if there was a consensus within the CHP on a candidate, saying only “we are at an important point”.

The candidate will be revealed at a rally Friday at an Ankara sports hall, Tezcan told reporters in the capital.

The announcement comes after former president Abdullah Gul, a one time comrade of Erdogan who has now fallen out with the government, dashed expectations he could be a unity opposition candidate by saying he would not stand.

A challenge is also expected to come from nationalist politician Meral Aksener who leads the Iyi (Good) Party that split away from Turkey’s main nationalist formation after it formed an alliance with Erdogan.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag ridiculed the CHP’s move, saying it was only “trying to win time” by making the mere announcement of a date sound like a strategy.

He wrote on Twitter that the party executive was “completely incapable and incompetent” and said Kilicdaroglu’s unwillingness to run himself had made him a “political fugitive”.

Registration for presidential candidates opened on Tuesday and they have until Saturday to give their names to the Central Election Commission (YSK).

The first to submit his candidacy was the maverick leader of the small leftist nationalist Patriotic Party, Dogu Perincek.

The head of the conservative Saadet (Felicity) Party Temel Karamollaoglu, who had held intense talks with Gul to have him stand under its banner, also announced he would stand.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will also announce its candidate on Friday, its co-leader Sezai Temelli said, with its ex-chief Selahattin Demirtas in the frame despite being in jail since November 2016.

Erdogan has won nearly a dozen elections and dominated Turkish politics since his AK party first swept to power in 2002. The elections will mark Turkey’s transition to a presidency with new sweeping executive powers, agreed under a narrowly approved referendum last year.

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