ERBIL, (Kurdistan 24) - 15 lawmakers resigned from Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and joined the newly-formed ultra-nationalist IYI (Good) Party, officials announced on Sunday.
The CHP's head of parliamentary group, Engin Altay, told a press conference in Ankara that the move was done to pre-empt a potential hurdle in front of IYI that could prevent it from participating in the elections.
"Erdogan does not show any hesitations when it comes to violating laws. He has made it a habit to direct all institutions of Turkey," Altay said.
He was voicing concerns from recent days that the electoral council could disqualify IYI from running in the snap elections President and leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced for June 24, a year and a half before the scheduled 2019 date.
A list released in January by the Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey did not contain IYI, which was founded in October 2017 since a party has to have been formed for six months to be able to participate in the elections, among other criteria.
A party should also be organized in at least half of Turkey's 81 provinces and a third of local districts in each province where it has a presence.
If not, then it has to have at least 20 seats in the Parliament.
The social-democrat CHP sharing seats with the right-wing IYI in Parliament did just that, as IYI already has five MPs.
The move followed a meeting between CHP leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and his IYI counterpart, Meral Aksener, who leads the splinter faction from the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
CHP's spokesperson, Bulent Tezcan, said the lawmakers who resigned did so after Kilicdaroglu issued the directive.
However, it remained unclear if the two parties were to form a united front to counter Erdogan and his AKP at the ballot box.
CHP has also chosen a vague language about a possibility of joining forces with the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the country's second-largest opposition bloc which has been submitted to a massive crackdown by the government since late 2016.
Editing by Nadia Riva