Good Party ready to challenge Erdoğan, Akşener says

Meral Akşener, Turkey’s former interior minister and the leader of the new centre-right Good Party, said she is looking to become Turkey’s first woman president following the planned 2019 elections.

In an interview with AFP reporter Raziye Akkoç, Akşener said her party promised to bring back the parliamentary system, because the presidential system was not right for Turkey.

An referendum in April, which was mired in allegations of fixing after the Supreme Electoral Board retroactively removed the requirement for ballots and envelopes to be stamped by authorities, brought extended executive powers to Turkey’s formerly apolitical and largely ceremonial presidency.

Akşener said her party wants her to run as their presidential candidate in the 2019 polls, but they are also ready for a possible snap election, which has been the subject of wide speculation in Ankara.

As a close ally to former conservative centrist politician Tansu Çiller, who became Turkey’s first woman prime minister in 1993, Akşener defines herself as a nationalist and conservative with regards to Islam, AFP said.

Akşener plans to mend ties with the West, should her party lead any government, and support negotiations with the EU for full membership.