Turkish opposition plan joint candidate against Erdogan in 2023 election - columnist

Turkey’s opposition parties are planning to field a joint candidate to run against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the 2023 presidential elections, Hürriyet columnist Abdülkadir Selvi said on Friday, citing a statement by Meral Akşener, the chairwoman of the nationalist Good Party (IP).

“We will never let the voters be unhappy once again,” Akşener told reporters when asked whether she would run in the presidential elections. 

According to Selvi, this statement is a ciphered message indicating that opposition parties will coalesce behind a joint candidate.

Ahead of presidential elections in June 2018, some opposition politicians failed in a bid to nominate former president Abdullah Gül, a prominent figure of the ruling party sidelined by Erdoğan, as a joint candidate.

Opposition parties instead fielded their own candidates in the polls. Erdoğan was re-elected by winning 52.6 percent of the vote in the first round. 

But it is likely that the opposition parties will seek ways to form a stronger alliance in 2023, as they did last year in local elections, Selvi said. Opposition candidates defeated the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the March polls in five of the six most populous provinces of Turkey, including Ankara and Istanbul.