Turkey’s six-party opposition alliance said it will announce on Monday its joint candidate to challenge President Tayyip Erdogan in the presidential election, little more than two months before the vote is set to be held.
Erdogan indicated on Wednesday that elections will be held on May 14, sticking to his previous plan for the vote with a date just over three months after a devastating earthquake killed more than 45,000 people in Turkey.
The leaders of the six opposition parties met on Thursday with the expectation that they would agree on a joint candidate, who was widely expected to be Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
“We have reached a common understanding concerning our joint presidential candidate for the 13th presidential election and the roadmap for the transition process,” the statement said.
It said the leaders would brief their parties’ executive boards before meeting again on Monday “to share the final statement with the public.”
Media reports said the party leaders largely voiced support for Kilicdaroglu’s candidacy but that there remained opposition to his candidacy within the nationalist IYI Party of Meral Aksener, the second largest party of the alliance.
Opinion polls have indicated that the opposition alliance is well placed to challenge Erdogan and his ruling AK Party in the elections.
Erdogan’s government has faced criticism for its handling of the emergency response to the earthquake, adding to what was already expected to be his biggest electoral challenge of his two decades in power as soaring inflation hits living standards.
However, reports of discord within the opposition alliance have led to doubts about its ability to capitalise on the erosion in Erdogan’s popularity that opinion polls have shown.