Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the chair of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has once again ruled out the nomination of the Istanbul and Ankara mayors for the presidential race in the upcoming elections in 2023, saying it would mean leaving the governance of one of these cities to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“The president should be a person with the experience of [running] the state. He will lead a critical period. The names of Mr. [Ankara Mayor Mansur] Yavaş and Mr. [Istanbul Mayor Ekrem] İmamoğlu are coming to the fore but we can’t abandon the governance of Istanbul and Ankara,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview with daily Cumhuriyet on Dec. 26.
Yavaş and İmamoğlu are often mentioned as potential presidential candidates of the opposition’s alliance. Both figures won the respective municipalities in the 2019 local elections as the joint candidates of the alliance, made up of the CHP, the İYİ (Good) Party, the Democrat Party and the Felicity Party.
Should one of these names run for the presidential elections, the governance of that city could pass on to the AKP, which have majority in both cities’ assembly, in the event of a defeat for the opposition. “We can’t explain it to our voters,” Kılıçdaroğlu stated.
He reiterated that the opposition’s candidate will be decided by the alliance. In an interview in the past week, Kılıçdaroğlu had said he would feel honored if the alliance nominated him as a presidential candidate.
He also answered President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s accusations that the CHP municipalities are not showing a good performance as these mayors won’t be able to go out in public because of their failure.
“CHP municipalities are making investments after paying the debts remaining from the AKP. Just like in [the southern province of] Mersin, they are doing their jobs despite the obstacles put by the government,” he said.
Hurriyet Daily News