Four Turkish parties unite to contest landmark polls

Istanbul (AFP) –


Four Turkish opposition parties Saturday announced they had formed a coalition to challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in snap elections on June 24.

After the landmark vote, a new presidential system agreed in an April 2017 referendum will come into force, which the opposition says will give the head of state authoritarian powers.

The main opposition Republican People?s Party (CHP), the IYI (Good) Party, the conservative Saadet Party (SP) and the Democrat Party (DP) formed the Alliance for the Nation to stand against the People's Alliance of Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The opposition alliance will only jointly contest the legislative election. Three parties in the bloc are fielding their own candidates for the presidential election.

Should Erdogan win, he will receive another five-year mandate which would allow him to press on with a transformation of Turkey that began when he first became prime minister in 2003.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which is strongly hostile to Erdogan, has named charismatic former leader Selahattin Demirtas as its presidential candidate even though he is currently behind bars.