In Turkey, the opposition alliance implodes 10 weeks before the presidential election
Turkish opposition candidate Kemal Kiliçdaroglu
Turkey's alliance of six opposition parties split on Friday over the choice of a common candidate to face incumbent head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presidential election of May 14.
The Turkish president, in power for 20 years and candidate for his own succession, announced on Wednesday that the presidential and legislative elections would be maintained on the scheduled date, despite the devastating earthquake of February 6 which killed more than 45,000 people.
The Good (Nationalist) Party, the second largest formation in the opposition alliance, refused to side with the candidacy of Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP, social democrat ), the main opposition party.
Kiliçdaroglu's inauguration is to be formalized on Monday.
In a televised address, the founder and president of the Good Party, Meral Aksener, deplored the choice of Mr. Kiliçdaroglu, believing that it resulted from small calculations contrary to the general interest of the Turks.
Since yesterday, the Table of Six [the nickname of the opposition alliance] has lost its ability to reflect the will of the nation, the only female figure in the the opposition.
This alliance is no longer a common-sense platform where one can discuss potential candidates: it has become an office of notaries working on the approval of a single candidate, he said. – she denounced.
She called on the popular mayors of Istanbul and Ankara, Ekrem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas, both members of the CHP, to run.
Our nation loves you, our nation wants you, she said after a meeting with her party executives.
While supporting its president Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, Mr. Yavas said he was ready on Tuesday to fulfill his duty if the alliance asked him to.
Mr Imamoglu on Friday reiterated his support for a candidacy by the head of the CHP.
In a video he shared on Twitter, Mr. Kiliçdaroglu spoke of his intention to open up the alliance of the opposition, initially called the Table des Six.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
We must invite all the colors of Turkey to this table. […] This table needs to grow. No one can prevent it, he claimed.
The CHP leader also criticized, without naming her, Ms Aksener for adopting the language of Erdogan, as well as political games and rudeness.
Let our people not be worried. We will defeat Erdogan and his propaganda machine anyway. Rest assured, we will win, he assured.
The rejection of [the candidacy of] Kiliçdaroglu by Aksener is a serious blow to the prospects of the opposition . She gave Erdogan a nice gift, judge analyst Anthony Skinner.
For some of the opposition supporters, Mr. Kiliçdaroglu, a 74-year-old former senior official from the Alevi minority, suffers from a lack of charisma in the face of the head of state, who willingly displays himself as a strong man.
105,000 buildings collapsed or were badly damaged damaged in Turkey after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
However, Mr. Erdogan will have to answer for the slowness of relief in the hours following the February 6 earthquake, as well as the lack of anticipation of seismic risks by his government.
Failures that Mr. Kiliçdaroglu did not fail to point out, denouncing the incompetence and corruption at the head of the country.
The left-wing party pro-Kurdish HDP, kept apart from the opposition alliance, and which has not yet announced a presidential candidate, sees favorably the candidacy of Mr. Kiliçdaroglu.
The opposition now has 10 weeks to impose the image of its candidate and campaign.
According to Turkish media, the CHP has convened an extraordinary meeting of its central executive council in the wake of Ms. Aksener's statements.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake, which devastated 11 southern provinces of Turkey uie, also poses significant logistical problems with, among others, 3.3 million displaced persons.