July 1, 2014 - 13:33 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has confirmed expectations, announcing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as its candidate for the upcoming August presidential elections at a lavish presentation event Tuesday, July 1, with the attendance of nearly 4,000 party members, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
All former and current lawmakers, mayors, central executive board members, congress delegates and provincial heads were present at the event amid huge fanfare, including a 3-D visual projection.
Erdoğan’s name was announced by AKP Deputy Head Mehmet Ali Şahin, who stressed that the decision had been taken after long consultations, and that all AKP deputies backed the candidacy of the current Prime Minister.
The announcement comes just two days after President Abdullah Gül confirmed that he would not seek a second term, lifting some of the remaining uncertainty about his possible candidacy. AKP officials’ declarations signaling Erdoğan’s willingness to run for the presidential office was capped on June 28 with a statement by Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, who said the prime minister was “the most appropriate candidate.”
The two main opposition parties in Parliament, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), agreed to nominate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, a former head of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as a joint candidate in a rather unexpected move.
People’s Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş also announced his candidacy June 30, becoming the second contender in the presidential race.