Electoral Board Published Preliminary List of Presidential Contenders

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What Happened: Turkey’s Supreme Election Board published a temporary list of presidential candidates who are eligible to run for office in the May 14 election, and the most prominent candidates are incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Hurriyet Daily News reported on March 28. CHP member Muharrem Ince and Sinan Ogan, a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) member and head of the ATA Alliance, also made it onto the list.

Why It Matters: As Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu are backed by the country’s biggest political alliances, the People’s Alliance and the Nation Alliance, respectively, the presidential election will essentially pit these two major candidates against each other. However, Ince could contribute to a split opposition vote. Ogan is the least notable candidate, but since the MHP is an ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), he could draw some votes away from Erdogan and provide slight competition between non-opposition parties. 

Background: Ince is a popular opposition figure who has always competed with Kilicdaroglu and also ran for president in the 2018 presidential election, with 30% of the votes placing him second behind Erdogan, who won outright in the first round of the election with 53%.

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