Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is open to dialogue with other parties in the opposition to nominate a joint candidate in the 2023 presidential elections, however, it is also “normal and legitimate” to nominate its own presidential candidate in the first round, said the the party’s imprisoned former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş on Sunday.
Demirtaş’s statement came after the party’s co-chair Pervin Buldan said on Saturday that the HDP would nominate its own candidate. Demirtaş said that it was party policy and that Buldan’s statements were no surprise.
The message Demirtaş sent to TELE 1 through his lawyers continues as follows:
“The HDP is a political party, not a support group for a candidate who will not take it into account.
The HDP has done its best for a joint candidate and has not yet closed its doors completely to discussions, as Ms Buldan said. The responsibility to take a step now lies with the other opposition bloc.”
Turkey’s elections for a new president and MPs are scheduled for June.
The six-party opposition Nation Alliance, led by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), declared on Friday that they would be starting discussions on their presidential candidate. The HDP is not part of the Nation Alliance.
Any opposition candidate would need to gain the basic majority of the votes in the two-round presidential elections if they are to end the 20-year rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Recent polls show that although opposition parties are increasing their share of the vote, they are still unable to attract a large portion of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) votes.
According to recent polls, the HDP vote stands at 8-12%, which implies that Turkey’s Kurdish voters will be kingmakers in the next elections.