Labor and Freedom Alliance not to field candidate in presidential race

Labor and Freedom Alliance not to field candidate in presidential race
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The Labor and Freedom Alliance, of which the pro-Kurdish HDP is a major component, declared that they will not field a candidate for the presidential election, implying a support the opposition’s joint candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu instead

“We will fulfill our historical responsibility towards the one-man rule in the presidential elections,” a declaration read by Pervin Buldan, the Co-Chair of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said, as the Labor and Freedom Alliance (EOI) announced it will not field a candidate in the presidential election set for May 14.

With opinion polls showing support for the HDP running at more than 10%, it could play a key role in a vote that will decide who leads Turkey.

The HDP, parliament's third-biggest party, wants the opposition to back demands for Kurdish rights and other issues. The Kurdish party held talks with Kilicdaroglu on Monday and said the meeting created a positive atmosphere.

In 2019, the HDP cooperated with the opposition to defeat the ruling AKP's mayoral candidates in major cities.

While the opposition have been building bridges, Erdogan's AKP has allied with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) since 2015, when a peace process aimed at ending an insurgency in southeast Turkey collapsed. MHP is a firm opponent of the Kurdish movement and its demands for cultural rights.

Thousands of HDP members, lawmakers and mayors have been jailed or stripped of their positions in recent years.

A survey by polling company SAMER in late 2022 showed AK Party support in the southeast had fallen since 2018, while support for the pro-Kurdish HDP had held firm.