Centre-right opposition İYİ (Good) Party chair Meral Akşener held a rally in the western province of Afyonkarahisar to evaluate the 2023 election loss and to present the roadmap of the party, including for the 2024 local elections. She criticized both the Erdogan administration and former ally CHP. But, she spared her harshest words for CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. She declared the opposition alliance over, wowing to contest all elections alone from now on. Her words may not be the final predicament of the 6 party opposition alliance, but at this point, AKP-MHP’s chances of recapturing major cities look better than ever, despite a sickly economy.
Akşener said they gather in Afyon to “embark on a new path. It has been 90 days since the elections. During this time, we also did our post-election assessment.”
“As we were approaching the 2023 elections, we had 2 candidates (Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş) who would win the election by a wide margin against Mr. Erdoğan for the first time in 20 years. In all the research we have done, we have seen that these 2 of our friends would easily be elected president, quoted her Duvar English. I made a promise to our nation, I said that the 13th president will be the candidate of the (main opposition) Nation Alliance. I forwent my own (presidential) candidacy. I couldn’t see that the real problem was within ourselves. I apologize to the great Turkish nation. I did everything I could to pave the way for these 2 friends. I supported them without any personal expectations. I could not prevent those who blocked their way,” Akşener said, pointing at CHP.
An important ally of the Nation Alliance, İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener on March 3 publicly rejected Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential candidacy despite other parties in the alliance agreeing upon him, saying his candidacy is being imposed on the İYİ Party.
One day later, Akşener said she was supporting CHP Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and CHP Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş as candidates amid polls that indicated they could perform better against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
She later returned to the alliance after the leaders agreed upon the vice presidencies of İmamoğlu and Yavaş.
At the end, Kılıçdaroğlu was the joint presidential candidate of the main opposition Nation Alliance and lost the election to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by receiving 47.82 percent of the votes in the second round of the race.
“My God is witness that whatever I did, I did it to win the elections. I wish everyone could be as selfless and brave as we are. Unfortunately, they couldn’t. I apologize on their behalf. I apologize for those who were not as brave as our nation. “We don’t have time to spend on those who are chasing a career (from now on),” Akşener said without explicitly mentioning any names.
Akşener also said the alliance system “harms the dynamics of Turkish politics” and deepens polarization while working in favor of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“We are aware that we lost this election. We humbly pay attention to your voice, to the voice of failing to be heard. Although we made extraordinary efforts, there was no progress because of the current system. The presidential system gradually weakens political space for all the parties,” she said.
“The most important problem we see in the alliance system is the effort of separatist structures (meaning Kurdish equality movement supporting Kilicdaroglu) to infiltrate the system. This is the attempt of quasi-terrorist movements that have problems with our republic, our state and our nation, to manipulate alliances. We reject unprincipled politics. In this structure of the alliance system, it is not possible for a national policy, a sustainable success, and the nation to win,” she added.
Akşener said while their alliance in the 2019 local elections was successful “We will appear before our nation with our own cadres in the upcoming local elections.”
In 2019, the İYİ Party did not field any candidates in some metropolitan municipalities, including Istanbul and Ankara, paving the way for the main opposition CHP candidates to assume the mayorships.
“I would like to make a clear call to all political parties; let’s create a competitive environment where our citizens will reflect their political preferences and local characteristics. Let all political parties enter the elections on their own. I call on all of you (President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan, (MHP leader Devlet) Bahçeli, Kılıçdaroğlu,” she added.
Following CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s presidential election loss against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May, some İYİ Party executives and deputies called for an end to the alliance with CHP.
While Aksener could change her views, it is almost certain that she will not re-enter an alliance with CHP, as long as Kilicdaroglu is chairman. Previously, anonymous IYIP sources leaked to the press that instead of a formal national alliance, the party may support Mansur Yavas in Ankara and Ekrem Imamoglu in Istanbul.
According to the latest poll, Yavas’s support dropped to 41.5%, with 47% refusing to vote for him. According to another poll, Imamoglu could win if he runs as the candidate of the opposition alliance. A third poll finds him falling behind potential AKP candidates.
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