The Republican People's Party (CHP) continued yesterday to exert its intensified efforts to mobilize a possible opposition bloc for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24 consisting of the far-right Good Party (İP) and the conservative Felicity Party (SP) against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the presidential candidate of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met with SP Chairman Temel Karamollaoğlu at CHP headquarters in Ankara in a meeting which lasted about an hour where the two discussed the possibility of an alliance against the AK Party-MHP candidate.
"It was an efficient meeting," Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters after the meeting, adding that the efforts, including his meeting with İP Chairwoman Meral Akşener last week and the transfer of 15 deputies from CHP to İP on Sunday, are the results of considering the upcoming elections as a way to find a solution to Turkey's problems.
Despite the ideological backgrounds of the party's traditionally center-left voters, Kılıçdaroğlu has been acting as a chief negotiator with the far-right İP and conservative SP to strengthen the anti-Erdoğan bloc, which is the common shared ground of the trio, mostly established during the April 16 referendum last year for the constitutional changes. The yes vote's victory in the April 16 referendum paved the way to the transition from the parliamentary system to a presidential one. The İP was initially formed by dissidents from the MHP, building the party on a national basis. The SP, on the other hand, is a conservative party that has traditionally clashed with the CHP's general philosophy.
After Kılıçdaroğlu and Karamollaoğlu's meeting, the SP leader also said the meeting was positive and that some tangible outcomes will be coming out of the meeting during the week. A topic that has been discussed in political circles is whether a joint candidate will be presented by the CHP, the İP and the SP if an alliance is realized. The SP chairman said this question will also be answered soon.
The CHP chairman is expected to convene his party's assembly today to receive the authorization on declaring the name for a presidential candidate. According to sources, the CHP is expected to announce its candidate Wednesday. As the main opposition ponders an ideal joint candidate, Erdoğan challenged Kılıçdaroğlu on Saturday to personally oppose him in the elections. "I would like to see the leader of the main opposition in this race. There is no need to search for another person because his words reflect his overconfidence. Be a candidate and we will see how much our people trust you," the president said in a televised interview on NTV broadcaster. Aside from Kılıçdaroğlu, current Eskişehir Mayor Yılmaz Büyükerşen and CHP Istanbul Deputy İlhan Kesici have been among those mentioned as the party's possible presidential candidates, aside from speculations that the CHP will announce a joint candidate with the SP and the İP. Büyükerşen has been a popular figure for the public, known for his popularity among traditional CHP voters. However, his advanced age, currently 81, is a disadvantage.
Kesici, on the other hand, is known for his center-right political past, raising questions about him being accepted by the CHP's traditional center-left electorate. Before the CHP, Kesici was a deputy for the center-right Homeland Party (ANAP), which also makes him more suitable as a figure that could possibly unite the three parties who vary in their electoral and ideological bases.