Turkish opposition split over presidential candidate

So far, 15 CHP lawmakers have openly refused to sign their names in support of Ihsanoglu, as well as former CHP leader Deniz Baykal.

Turkish opposition split over presidential candidate

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and National Movement Party (MHP) have started collecting signatures to support their joint presidential candidate to challenged expected favorite, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the upcoming August elections.

Signatures started to be collected as of 17:00 local time on Tuesday. So far, 35 CHP lawmakers have offered their backing to their party's candidate, former Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

However, there has been opposition within both the CHP and the MHP regarding their candidate. CHP, traditionally a center-left party which prides itself on the secular teachings of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, has seen hesitation within its own ranks to back Ihsanoglu, who many consider to be an Islamist.

So far, 15 CHP lawmakers have openly refused to sign their names in support of Ihsanoglu, as well as former CHP leader Deniz Baykal. There are also some reservations in the right-wing MHP about backing a joint with former rival CHP.

Alevis reject Ihsanoglu

Turkey's Alevi associations and federations expressed that Ihsanoglu doesn't fit the criteria of the ideal Alevi citizens while most Alevi representatives expressed they will not support him in his presidential bid.

Lawyer Ali Ihsan Sahin noted that the CHP and MHP did not create an alternative to the AK Party's candidate, which will most likely be Erdogan, but rather came up with someone who is almost similar to the prime minister.

"They should have just said there is no better alternative to Prime Minister Erdoğan" Sahin was quoted by Daily Sabah.

"We expect the presidential candidates to take into consideration the needs of 25 million Alevis and want them to explicitly outline their projects for Alevis when they become a president" said Sahin, noting that they, like other Alevi associations and federations will be closely watching the process.

Pro-CHP poll reveals Ihsanoglu doubts

According to SONAR research institution, which is known as pro-Republican People's Party (CHP), if Erdogan is announced as the AK Party candidate, he would defeat Ihsanoglu and take the presidential seat in the first round of the election, which requires the majority of votes.

Among 2,800 surveyed people who live in 26 different cities, 46 percent say that they will vote for Erdogan if he competes against Ihsanoglu. Around 35.3 percent is seen to vote for Ihsanoglu, 6.2 percent of the surveyed people stated that they will vote for the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), and votes who remain undecided will be split among candidates which will increase Erdogan's votes to 52.6 percent while Ihsanoglu will receive 40.3 percent.

Speaking to Turkish daily Aydinlik, head of SONAR, Hakan Bayrakci stated that Erdogan may win the presidential election in the first round of votes, if not, he is sure to win the second round. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Haziran 2014, 14:23