A left-wing alliance led by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) will announce its decision on whether to name a candidate for presidential elections in coming days, Mesopotamia News Agency reported on Monday.
The Labour and Freedom Alliance, which also includes five other socialist-leaning political parties, was established as an alternative to the People’s Alliance, formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the Nation Alliance of six parties led by the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
The HDP’s executive board gathered on 4 March to complete preparations for the elections, while leaving the final decision on the presidential candidate to a meeting to be organised with the participation of all the parties in the Labour and Freedom Alliance.
The opposition parties in Turkey postponed the announcements of their presidential candidates for the 14 May elections after the twin earthquakes that hit the country’s south on 6 February, claiming the lives of almost 50,000 people and causing massive destruction.
As the Labour and Freedom Alliance await their meeting, the HDP and its partners are also looking out for the decision of the Nation Alliance on their presidential candidate, expected to be announced late on Monday.
HDP officials, including its imprisoned former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, have repeatedly remarked on the need for a joint strategy between all opposition parties to defeat Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and to restructure the country on democratic principles.
The Nation Alliance’s decision on the presidential candidate will affect the election strategy of the HDP. If the candidate of the Nation Alliance is announced as someone who can be supported by HDP voters, then it is likely that the party will choose not to field an alternative candidate, according to commentators in Turkey’s media. Otherwise, the left-wing alliance is expected to enter the race with their own candidate on May 14.
The HDP officials have so far only expressed objections to one of the names mentioned as a possible candidate for the Nation Alliance; Mansur Yavaş, the mayor of the Turkish capital of Ankara. A recent disagreement among the parties in the Nation Alliance ruled out such a possibility. However, Yavaş could still be named as a vice-president in a future cabinet along with İstanbul’s mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, according to the details of a recent deal alleged to have been made by the Nation Alliance.
Turkey’s system requires a candidate to get at least 50 percent of the votes in the first round of elections to be elected as the new president from the first round. If no candidate obtains a simple majority, then run-off elections are held two weeks later between the two candidates who receive the highest shares of votes in the first round.