Muharrem Ince, one of the four candidates in the Turkish presidential election to be held on Sunday 14 May, announced on Thursday 11 that he was abandoning the race. “I withdraw my candidacy,” said the leader of the Memleket (Fatherland) party, who was credited with 2 to 4% of the voting intentions in the latest opinion polls, at a press conference.
Several executives of his party had resigned in recent days, worrying that the candidacy of Muharrem Ince prevents Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the main opposition candidate, from winning against President Erdogan, in power for twenty years.
Muharrem Ince justified his decision by saying that the opposition alliance led by Kemal Kiliçdaroglu “will throw all the blame” on him if it bows to the head of state.
Muharrem Ince was the unsuccessful candidate of the Republican People’s Party (CHP, social democrat) in the presidential election in 2018, beaten in the first round by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In May 2021, he launched his own secular nationalist formation.
Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, leader of the CHP and candidate of an alliance bringing together six opposition parties, is given a good position against President Erdogan, confronted for the first time in twenty years with a united opposition.