Ex-Turkish presidential contender Muharrem Ince forms new party

Muharrem Ince, who contested 2018 polls against President Erdogan, forms Homeland Party after quitting Republican People’s Party.

Muharrem Ince, presidential candidate of the main opposition CHP, addresses his supporters during an election rally in Istanbul
Ince has done little to hide his political ambitions since his strong performance in the 2018 polls [File: Reuters]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top rival in the 2018 election, Muharrem Ince, has announced the formation of a new party, Memleket Partisi (Homeland Party), which he plans to lead in the next campaign expected to be held in June 2023.

Ince represented the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) when he picked up 30.6 percent of the vote against Erdogan’s 52.6 in Turkey’s last national polls held in 2018.

He proved to be a powerful orator who built up a solid support base despite the snap polls being announced just months in advance about three years ago.

However, the 57-year-old then fell out with CHP leaders and unsuccessfully challenged current head Kemal Kilicdaroglu for the centre-left party’s leadership post.

Ince has done little to hide his political ambitions since his strong performance in the 2018 polls.

He brandished his secular brand of nationalism in a nationwide tour of the mostly Muslim country dubbed the “Motherland Movement in 1,000 days” in 2020.

Ince: We’ll transform Turkey

Ince accused Erdogan’s government of “looting” the state. “We are going to transform, change Turkey,” Ince told his supporters during an outdoor rally in the capital, Ankara.

“The current authorities cannot be trusted to offer a single solution to our country’s problems.”

Erdogan’s support has eroded since 2018 because of a sharp depreciation in the value of the lira currency and high unemployment.

However, he still leads all potential rivals in head-to-head opinion polls.

Source: News Agencies