Ankara [Tukrey], May 11 (ANI): Ahead of general elections to be held on Sunday, Muharrem Ince, Turkish presidential candidate, has withdrawn his name from the race, giving a potential boost to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, reported CNN.
Ince had low polling figures and opposition leaders were scared that he would divide the anti-Erdogan votes.
“I am pulling out of this race. I am doing this for my country,” Ince said at a press conference in Ankara, adding that he had faced a “slander campaign.” His name will, however, remain on the ballot, according to CNN.
Referring to the main opposition, he said, “I do not want them to blame me when they lose.”
His centrist party, Homeland, will continue to compete for seats in the parliamentary race. “I urge each household to give Homeland Party at least one vote,” he appealed.
No one of the other contenders received Ince’s support, as per CNN.
In 2018, the 59-year-old campaigned for president but fell short against Erdogan. He left Kilicdaroglu’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) in March of this year and entered the presidential contest. He first rejected requests from his previous party to resign out of fear that he would take votes away from Erdogan’s opponent.
Erdogan expressed his regret at Ince’s withdrawal during a rally in Ankara, saying that it is “impossible to understand why” he did so.
According to Mehmet Karli, a CHP member and Kilicdaroglu’s longtime adviser, Ince’s decision is likely to be supported by the CHP and the larger opposition coalition. He continued by saying that while Ince could refrain from endorsing Kilicdaroglu, it is generally believed that his supporters will support the CHP leader since they wanted to see Erdogan removed from power, reported CNN.
Every five years, elections are held in Turkey. A candidate is elected president if they earn more than 50 per cent of the vote in the first round. However, if no one receives a majority, a runoff election will take place between the two candidates who won the most votes in the first round, the CNN report said.
Murat Somer, a political science professor at Koc University in Istanbul, told CNN, “As the election day become closer, all votes were converging on (Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu and) Ince’s votes were failing,” adding, “He and his party did not want to take this responsibility.”
It remains uncertain as to how Ince’s supporters would vote, but Turkish surveys have shown that a big number of his loyalists would prefer Kilicdaroglu if the Homeland Party leader quit.
Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu are anticipated to run a close race in the election, and pollsters anticipate record voter turnout.
Somer also said, “Even though formally an election, this is actually a referendum and you have only two choices,” CNN reported. (ANI)
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