Opposition alliance plans to put Babacan in charge of economy

Opposition alliance plans to put Babacan in charge of economy
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"There will be an independent central bank, there will be no political interventions," an official of the six-party alliance has said.

Turkey's six-party opposition bloc, the Nation Alliance, plans to make former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan a vice president responsible for the economy if it wins a presidential election set for May 14, four senior sources in the alliance told Reuters on Friday.

They also said the alliance has also already identified a candidate to be appointed as governor of the Turkish central bank, but did not say who it was.

"In a system that Babacan will manage, there will be a structure where important ministries will be undertaken by other parties," a high level official in the alliance said.

The official said the treasury and finance ministry, currently one institution, could be split into two.

Babacan's Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) declined to comment on Babacan's future role.

Another source familiar with the situation said Babacan would also oversee foreign investment and the overall investment climate.

Babacan was formerly a close ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but quit the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2019 over differences about its direction and formed DEVA. He was also in charge of the economy under Erdogan and was well regarded by foreign investors at the time.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), emerged on Monday as the alliance's presidential candidate to challenge Erdogan in the elections.

Polls suggest that the presidential and parliamentary votes in May will be tight.

Regarding the central bank appointment, a CHP official said, "There is a candidate who knows central banking and will take over and start working immediately, and he is ready."

"There will be an independent central bank," the official said. "There will be no political interventions. In terms of economic management, DEVA and Babacan seem very ready."

The sources said the alliance agreed that it would focus on repairing damage which they said had been done to institutions and that "non-market" practices, including central bank exchange rate controls, unorthodox monetary policy and loan restrictions will be ended.