Turkey’s Nation Alliance, composed of opposition parties led by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) postponed a planned meeting on Monday for an hour as opposition leaders sought a last-minute deal to agree on a joint presidential candidate.
Meral Akşener, the leader of the centre-right Good Party (İYİP) will allegedly return to the negotiation table on Monday, after having announced last week that she was leaving the opposition alliance, rejecting the proposed candidacy of the CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
According to Good Party spokesperson Kürşad Zorlu, Akşener will return to the table with a new deal calling for the appointment of the mayors of İstanbul and Ankara as deputy presidents in a future cabinet to be headed by Kılıçdaroğlu, if the alliance wins the presidential race against the Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdoğan on 14 May.
Akşener had been insistent that either Mansur Yavaş, the mayor of Ankara, or Ekrem İmamoğlu, the mayor of İstanbul, should be the presidential candidate, saying that Kılıçdaroğlu’s chances of winning the presidential race were low, according to the polls.
Despite Akşener’s harsh words against her allies on Friday, the opposition parties started Monday with a flurry of meetings aiming to reach a last-minute deal and prevent an irreversible split in the alliance.
İmamoğlu and Yavaş both visited Akşener early on Monday. Following the meeting, İmamoğlu told reporters that Kılıçdaroğlu had been informed about the meeting, while Yavaş said that the public in Turkey would not tolerate a split in the alliance.
Kılıçdaroğlu will go to the Good Party headquarters to discuss a possible agreement following on from the meeting between Akşener and the mayors, after days of tension, HalkTV reported.
According to Dokuz8News, if the leaders of the six opposition parties reach an agreement today, İmamoğlu and Yavaş will continue to act as mayors during the election campaign, and will resign after the presidential race is won, thereafter to act as deputy presidents.
The CHP had objected to proposals for naming İmamoğlu and Yavaş as presidential candidates, pointing out that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) hold majorities in the municipal assemblies of Turkey’s two largest provinces, so that if İmamoğlu and Yavaş were to resign their mayoral seats, it would be likely they would be replaced by some names from the AKP until the local elections in 2024.
If the opposition parties succeed in striking a deal, the joint presidential candidate of the alliance is expected to be announced late on Monday by the leader of the Felicity Party (SP) Temel Karamollaoğlu, who is hosting today’s meeting at Felicity’s party headquarters.