In the presidential polls just over two months from now, Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will not field a candidate, as it supports the incumbent president, said the party’s leader Saturday.
"None of our party members will run for president. Our candidate is Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan," the current president, opposition MHP leader Devlet Bahceli told a news conference in the capital Ankara.
The MHP and ruling Erdogan’s Justice and Development (AK) Party are set to compete in an election alliance in the combined parliamentary and presidential polls on June 24.
For the elections, Bahceli said the party’s strategy has two pillars: "A strong, balanced parliament, [and] presidential elections done simultaneously."
Bahceli added that the MHP will work for Erdogan’s candidacy as well promote their own candidates for parliament.
Parliament on Friday passed a bill calling for early elections on June 24, with 386 lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties supporting the move.
In an April 2017 referendum, Turkish voters approved a bill switching Turkey from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.
Under the changes, the number of lawmakers in parliament rises to 600 from 550, presidential and parliamentary elections are held every five years, and presidents can retain ties to their political party. The prime minister post is also abolished.