Turkish opposition MP announces presidential candidacy

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    The deputy chairman of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has announced his presidential candidacy, saying he will contest "if CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu does not become a candidate".

    Speaking to journalists in the parliament on Friday, Ozturk Yilmaz said: "If CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu dos not become a nominee, I will be the presidential candidate."

    Yilmaz said he would embrace 80 million Turks if his party would nominate him as a candidate.

    Another CHP lawmaker Didem Engin also announced her candidacy for the presidential elections.

    "This is the time to say good things as a patriot child in our beautiful country," Engin, an MP from Istanbul, said in a written statement on Friday.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday a plan to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, over a year ahead of schedule.

    On April 16, 2017, Turkey held a referendum on a constitutional reform in which the majority of voters pronounced themselves in favor of an 18-article bill switching a parliamentary system into a presidential one.

    Under the constitutional reform, the number of lawmakers in the parliament will rise to 600 from 550, the presidential and the parliamentary elections will be held after every five years and the elected president will not be bound to cut ties with his or her party.

    The political parties or alliance which received at least five percent of vote in last elections or 100,000 voters could nominate their candidate for the presidency.

    In the new system, the president will have executive power and the title of “head of state”, representing Turkey, the unity of Turkish people and assuring the implementation of the constitution and the harmonious execution of state bodies.

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