The third-place candidate says he will support the incumbent in the second round of voting on Sunday.
Sinan Ogan, who finished third in Turkey’s presidential election last week, has thrown his support behind the incumbent president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the May 28 runoff.
Erdogan endorsed Erdogan at a press conference in the capital, Ankara, on Monday and said his campaign had made nationalists “key players” in Turkish politics.
“We believe that our decision will be the right one for our country and our nation,” Ogan said, citing Erdogan’s parliamentary majority as the reason for his decision.
“It is important that the newly elected president be under the same authority [leadership] Like Parliament. [Kilicdaroglu’s] On the other hand, the coalition could not show enough success against the People’s Alliance that had been in power for 20 years, and could not create a perspective that could convince us of the future.
The decision to support Erdogan was based on the principle of “non-stop struggle [against] terrorism.”
The announcement comes as Turks go back to the polls on Sunday to decide whether Erdogan or main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu will lead the country for the next five years.
In the first round of voting on May 14, Erdogan received 49.52 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent majority needed to secure a complete victory.
Kilicdaroglu, the candidate of the six-party opposition alliance, won 44.88 percent of the vote. Ogan finished third with 5.17 percent, leading some analysts to dub him a potential “kingmaker” in the runoff.
The former academic was a candidate for the right-wing ATA coalition, led by the Victory Party, known for its anti-immigrant stance in Turkey, the world’s largest refugee-hosting country.
Kilicdaroglu has vowed to roll back many of Erdogan’s sweeping changes to Turkey’s domestic, foreign and economic policies, including reversing an unorthodox economic program that many economists said helped devalue the lira and caused inflation to soar.
Erdogan said the vote for him in the run-off was a vote for stability.
Ogan’s endorsement of Erdogan came after he held a meeting with the Turkish leader in Istanbul on Friday. No statement was made after the hour-long meeting.
Seda Demiralp, an associate professor at Ishik University, told Al Jazeera from Istanbul that Ogan’s endorsement of Erdogan was “expected since yesterday, when he suggested that he would promote continuity and stability,” keywords used in Erdogan’s campaign.
“In his speech today, he said that he believes that both the executive and legislative branches are controlled by the same party is good for stability, and he justified his decision based on this argument,” she said.
It was also relatively expected because Kilicdaroglu is likely to lose in the second round. He’s facing a tough race.”
On Tuesday, the Victory Party will separately announce its position on the run-off.
It is not certain that all of Ogan’s supporters will go to Erdogan, analysts said, adding that some are likely to turn to Kilicdaroglu while others may choose not to vote in the run-off.
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