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2 more candidates qualify to run in presidential election

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Two more politicians have qualified to run in the presidential election on May 14 after collecting 100,000 signatures each from their supporters, the country’s election authority announced over the weekend.

Homeland (Memleket) Party leader Muharrem İnce and Sinan Oğan, the candidate of a bloc of four far-right parties, will be running as presidential candidates in the election in addition to current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the joint candidate of an opposition bloc of six parties.

İnce has collected 111,301 signatures while Oğan collected 107,625, the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) announced on Sunday.

A person who is over the age of 40, has a university degree and meets the criteria to be elected a member of parliament can be nominated as a presidential candidate, either by 100,000 voters who sign a petition supporting their candidacy or by the nomination of a political party that has a parliamentary group or received at least 5 percent of the nationwide vote in the last elections.

The YSK earlier last week accepted applications from 11 prospective candidates who are required to be nominated directly by voters because their parties failed to garner the required 5 percent of support in the 2018 elections. The YSK began to accept petitions last Wednesday. The window for submitting petitions was to close on Monday evening.

On the first two days of signature collection, support for the 11 prospective candidates remained low although some of them such as İnce and Özal claim to enjoy widespread popularity.

Many say İnce’s candidacy could weaken Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kılıçdaroğlu’s chances of winning since his likely voters will be from among people supporting Kılıçdaroğlu, not Erdoğan.

İnce was nominated as the candidate of the CHP in the June 2018 election against current president Erdoğan.

He received 30.6 percent of the nationwide of vote against Erdoğan, who garnered 52.5 percent and won.

İnce parted ways with the CHP in February 2021 and established his own party in May 2021.

He said at a recent news conference that he believes he can get 38 percent of the vote in the first round and 68 percent in a second-round runoff.

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