Turkish opposition parties to sign four-way election alliance

Turkish opposition parties to sign four-way election alliance

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has formally announced incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its candidate for the upcoming snap presidential election, the Anadolu news agency reported.

The election will mark Turkey's transition into a presidency with new sweeping executive powers - opposed by the Saadet Party - in a narrowly approved referendum a year ago.

Its leader is former interior minister, former member of the Nationalist Movement party Meral Aksener who is expected to be Erdogan's main opponent in the presidential election.

Erdoğan said the vote, originally scheduled for November 2019, was moved up to accelerate Turkey's change from a primarily parliament system to one giving the president more executive authority.

Erdogan has won almost a dozen elections and dominated Turkish politics since the Islamist-rooted AK party swept to power in 2002.

Spokesperson Bulent Tezcan did not confirm during Tuesday's announcement if there was a consensus within the CHP on a candidate, saying only "we are at an important point".

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The CHP, the Iyi Party and two other parties are this week expected to seal an election alliance to create a broad coalition against Erdogan.

Speculation rose on Thursday that prominent CHP MP Muharrem Ince would be the party's presidential candidate.

Tezcan added his party was prepared for the elections.

To win in the first round, a candidate needs more than 50 percent of the votes.

An opinion poll conducted in mid-April put Erdogan well ahead in the race with 40 percent followed by Aksener at 30 percent, Ince 20 percent and the jailed pro-Kurdish opposition HDP party leader Selahattin Demirtas under 10 percent.

Should Erdogan win, he will receive another five-year mandate which would allow him to press on with a transformation of Turkey that began when he first became prime minister in 2003.

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