Kilicdaroglu: Conviction does not affect candidacy process

Kilicdaroglu: Conviction does not affect candidacy process
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Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said every step was taken by the opposition parties “with a certain determination and accumulation of knowledge”

Main opposition CHP (Republican People’s Party) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said the conviction of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu will not affect the process of nominating a joint opposition candidate against President Tayyip Erdogan in next year’s presidential elections.

Speaking in a morning news programme in Turkey’s Halk TV, Kilicdaroglu said every step was taken “with a certain determination and accumulation of knowledge.”

Turkey’s six opposition parties including the CHP have formed the Nation Alliance to unite their strength against the ruling bloc AKP (Justice and Development Party) and its supporter MHP (Nationalist Movement Party,) but with only less than seven months to go before the elections, they are yet to nominate a candidate.

Analysts have seen the conviction of Imamoglu as a leverage for him to come to the forefront in the candidacy race but the alliance could also nominate Kilicdaroglu, especially after a dashing event last month where Kilicdaroglu introduced his “vision for the second century of Turkey” and an international team which he said will bring this vision to reality.

Kilicdaroglu on Thursday morning said the candidate will be determined by the leaders of six opposition parties.

“Mr. Ekrem continues to serve the people of Istanbul as the mayor of the metropolitan municipality,” he said.

Kilicdaroglu was heavily criticized by some of the opposition groups because of his trip to Germany on the day of Imamoglu’s trial.

On top of this, Meral Aksener, the leader of the Good Party which is the second largest in the Nation Alliance, swiftly moved to Istanbul from Ankara on Wednesday evening and accompanied Mayor Imamoglu while he addressed to rallying crowds, a position seen by many as stealing the role of Kilicdaroglu.

Aksener earlier said that she could support one of the mayors of Istanbul or Ankara as a presidential candidate.