Turkish opposition alliance splits over anti-Erdogan candidate
Turkey's opposition alliance fractured on Friday after one of the leaders refused to endorse a joint candidate against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The cracks emerged a day after the six opposition party leaders held a meeting in Ankara to discuss whom to field against Erdogan in the May 14 polls.
Five parties endorsed Kemal Kilicdaroglu, a bookish former civil servant who heads Turkey's main secular party, as the frontrunner in the bid to end Erdogan's rule.
But Meral Aksener, leader of the nationalist IYI Party, has resisted Kilicdaroglu, backing instead Istanbul's popular opposition mayor Ekrem Imamoglu or Ankara's mayor Mansur Yavas.
"I am sorry to say that as of yesterday, the Table of Six has lost its ability to reflect the will of the nation in its decisions," Aksener said after meeting her party delegates on Friday.
She said her party was being forced to choose Kilicdaroglu and added: "We will not bow to this."
A staunch nationalist and a skillful orator, Aksener is one of the few prominent women in domestic politics.
Turkey heads to a crunch election on May 14 three months after a devastating earthquake hit several provinces and claimed more than 45,000 lives.
Erdogan this week dismissed the speculation that the election might be postponed due to the disaster and said the vote would go ahead as planned.
'Gift on a platter'
The splintered political opposition has been unable to agree on a candidate for more than a year.
Aksener's move appears to be a serious setback.
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