Our candidate for the upcoming presidential election will be a figure from within the Republican People's Party (CHP), the party's Deputy Chairman Engin Altay said yesterday.
"It is not on our agenda to go to elections in an alliance for the presidential and parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for 2019, but to me they will be held this year [in snap elections]. CHP's candidate will be discussed by party authorities and decided. However, there is no doubt CHP's candidate will be [a figure] from CHP," Altay said in a press conference in Ankara.
Altay's remarks emerged following recent rumors that former President Abdullah Gül may be the joint presidential candidate for the "no" pole of the last year's April 16 referendum.
Recently, a public row emerged between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and longtime friend Gül over a new statutory decree that blocks criminal charges for civilians who acted against the putschist soldiers during the failed July 15 coup attempt and the day after. Gül's criticism against the decree was also shared by the opposition CHP, triggering rumors that he may be a candidate against Erdoğan in the upcoming presidential election.
The CHP has yet to reveal their candidate for the presidential elections, while the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) candidate is expected to be President Erdoğan, who is also the party's current chairman.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said he may apply for candidacy in the 2019 presidential election, though he seemed reluctant to declare his intention on a television program.
Speaking Thursday on Habertürk TV, the CHP leader said, "I may be, we will discuss it in the party," while answering a question as to whether he has intentions to run as a presidential candidate.
Though no official announcement has been made, the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is expected to support AK Party's candidate, as well. The pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) also has not announced their candidate, or whether they will form an alliance with another party.
The CHP leader has often been criticized for not propelling himself to the fore and often remains in the background in critical elections. He did not enter the presidential elections in 2014. Instead, the CHP nominated Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the former head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), entered the election as a joint candidate and was also supported by the MHP, the Democrat Party (DP), the Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Great Union Party (BBP), the Independent Turkey Party (BTP) and several other minor parties, but garnered 38.4 percent of the vote, coming in second after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.