A coalition of six Turkish opposition parties has announced that they will begin internal deliberations to choose a joint presidential candidate who will run against current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in elections slated for summer, local media reported on Thursday.
The leaders of the coalition known as the “Table of Six” on Thursday held their tenth meeting, which lasted for nine hours. In a written statement they released after the meeting, the leaders announced the decisions taken as well as explaining the steps they plan to take in the coming weeks.
The Table of Six, which consists of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the nationalist İYİ (Good) Party, the Felicity Party (SP), the Future Party (GP), the Democrat Party (DP) and the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), has not yet announced its candidate, while Erdoğan has already declared that he will run for the “Public Alliance,” comprising his Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in the upcoming elections.
“We have decided to launch deliberations among the party chairpersons to determine the joint candidate,” the leaders said in Thursday’s statement.
The opposition leaders also said they had decided to intensify the work of a commission that was established for election security during both the voting and counting phases and start work on how to garner a majority in parliament.
The Table of Six is also planning to announce its Joint Policy Document and Road Map at a meeting scheduled for Jan. 30. The first document covers nine main policy areas, including economy, justice, foreign policy, education, health and others, while the latter explains how these policies will be implemented.
The leaders signed a declaration in February confirming their resolve to introduce a “strengthened parliamentary system” should they unseat Erdoğan in the 2023 elections. In late November the bloc also announced its proposal for constitutional amendments to switch back to the parliamentary system.
Through a referendum in April 2017, Turkey switched from a parliamentary system of governance to an executive presidential system that granted President Erdoğan and his ruling AKP sweeping powers and was criticized for removing constitutional checks and balances, thus leading to a further weakening of Turkish democracy. Critics call the system a “one-man rule.”