Opposition will win presidency in first round of polls, vows CHP chief

The opposition’s candidate for the presidency will win the polls against incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the first round, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader has vowed, also predicting that the opposition alliance will garner the parliamentary majority.


“We will win the presidency in the first round,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu told BBC Turkish in an interview on Aug. 19.


Turkey will hold simultaneous polls for the presidency and the parliament in June 2023 if the government does not opt for snap elections.


Erdoğan will run for another term as the joint candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).


The opposition alliance, established by six political parties, is yet to nominate a presidential candidate against Erdoğan. In a case where no candidate gets 50 percent of the votes in the first round, then the two leading candidates will race in the second round.


Kilicdaroglu also predicted that the opposition alliance would get the parliamentary majority. “The picture is growing and showing itself. The Republican People’s Party is ahead of the Justice and Development Party. This trend will accelerate in the coming period,” he stated.


The Nation Alliance will get the parliamentary majority, Kilicdaroglu vowed, saying, “Our objective, to be decided by the six leaders, is to revive the strengthened parliamentary system and let the wheels [of the state] run again in a certain period of time.”


The CHP leader informed that the leaders of the six parties would hold their sixth in-person meeting on Aug. 21, hosted by Felicity Party chair Temel Karamollaoglu. One of the issues the opposition alliance is working on is strategizing the transition period after the election victors, Kilicdaroglu stated. “We are receiving support from the academics as well. How this transition period should develop, what priorities should we have, and which decrees should we publish at the very beginning?”


“We will share our work on this altogether after it will be matured enough,” he added.


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Kilicdaroglu is certainly right, when it comes to parliamentary elections, where according to the average of 9 July polls the Nation Alliance enjoys a 42-38% superiority vs the Republic. Another opposition party, pro-Kurdish Rights HDP garners 11%, meaning that AKP-MHP will  have to close as 13 percentage point deficit to keep the Parliament, at a time when both parties are suffering in the polls due to economic difficulties. According to August EDAR poll, economic distress is the leading concern of prospective voters, with complaints about Syrian refugees coming a distant second.  Only 32% of voters believe incumbent president Erdogan can solve the economic problems. The rest bet on various opposition candidates.


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In terms of presidential elections, the data is less clear, because the question is posed in different ways and Kilicdaroglu is not the official candidate. But, PATurkey’s own election barometer shows ANY opposition candidate beating Erdogan in the second round in 7 out of 10 polls.  Kilicdaroglu will win in the first round  only, if HDP declines to field a candidate AND urge its supporters to vote for him.



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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.