Former Republican People Party (CHP) Chairman and current Antalya deputy Deniz Baykal has urged CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to either run as candidate for the next presidential election in 2019 or resign from his post.
Speaking on CNN Türk Monday night, Baykal vowed to back Kılıçdaroğlu in the presidential race if he decides to be a candidate in 2019. "But if he does not, he should resign from his leadership position," said Baykal, adding that the to-be-determined presidential candidate ought to also become the CHP leader.
Turkish voters in the April 16 referendum were in favor of changes which envisage shifting from a parliamentary to a presidential system. The changes will go into effect after the election in 2019.
Emphasizing that Turkey has entered a new era with the referendum, Baykal asserted that former President Abdullah Gül would have a great chance to win if he decides to run for the election. "If Mr. Gül has the intention to become a candidate, it would be a situation worth evaluating. But he shouldn't leave it too late, because the process will start [soon]," he said.
On a question about whether he personally plans to become a candidate in the election, Baykal said he is not considering it.
Kılıçdaroğlu became the CHP head after his predecessor Baykal's resignation following a sex tape scandal in 2010. Since then, Kılıçdaroğlu has lost three general elections, two referendums and one local election.