DIYARBAKIR (Kurdistan 24) – Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Friday nominated its imprisoned former Co-leader, Selahattin Demirtas, as a candidate for President of Turkey in the upcoming June 24 elections.
Demirtas’ nomination, announced at a press conference in the major Kurdish city of Diyarbakir by HDP’s Co-leader, Pervin Buldan, was expected for over a week now in the run-up to the snap polls.
Hours earlier the left-wing opposition party’s Twitter feed featured an old campaign video of Demirtas urging people to “vote for the most handsome candidate.”
With Basak Demirtas, wife of Demirtas, at her side, Buldan described the charismatic 45-year-old lawyer and lawmaker as a “hostage” at the hands of the administration of the incumbent President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
This is the second time the Kurdish politician, in prison since late 2016 over charges of “separatism and terrorism,” will be running for high office in the country, once again facing off against Erdogan.
In 2014 elections, he had garnered 9.7 percent of votes, an amount which, in the general elections a year later, translated into an increase of three points for his party, making it the second-largest opposition at the Parliament.
HDP has found itself alienated by the Turkish opposition parties, led by the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), which formed an alliance to counter Erdogan’s ambitions for an even more powerful presidency that can circumvent parliamentary check and balances.
Erdogan’s own Islamist-rooted ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), entered into an alliance with far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to secure a victory in the general and presidential elections held on the same day.
Editing by Nadia Riva