İnce secures his bid as 3rd presidential contender

Muharrem İnce, the chairman of the Homeland Party, has garnered the support of more than 100,000 people to make him the third contender for the next presidential polls after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the oppositional candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

"We did not give up despite all sorts of restrictions. I commend those who have signed the petition for my candidacy. Please keep the receipt given to you. It is a document of the Turkish democracy," İnce told a press conference late on March 25.

His statement came after the Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced that İnce has exceeded the required 100,000 signature criteria on the fourth day after the process started. According to the constitution, any person can run in the presidential elections if he or she can get the support of more than 100,000 people.

Ince had run against Erdoğan in the 2018 presidential polls as the candidate of the CHP. After parting ways with the main opposition party due to disagreements with Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu, he founded his own Homeland Party in 2021.

He is heavily criticized by the CHP and other members of the oppositional alliance for running in the elections which could be to the advantage of President Erdoğan.

"If we wanted, we could garner the required signatures in the first day. But then, they [the opposition] would argue that the AK Party members helped us. Everything did occur as planned," İnce suggested.

CHP leader and joint presidential candidate of the opposition, Kılıçdaroğlu, said he was planning to meet İnce in the coming days in regular talks with all the political party leaders. İnce, however, said there was no attempt from the CHP for a meeting so far.

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