By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
Rather than fielding a presidential candidate of its own in 2019, Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will instead back the reelection of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"The Nationalist Movement Party will not nominate a candidate for the presidential elections," MHP leader Devlet Bahceli told reporters in Ankara, the capital on Monday.
"The MHP decides to back President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the presidential elections," he said.
Bahceli added that they could form an alliance with the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party -- Erdogan’s party -- in the presidential polls.
The move followed other instances of the MHP working with the AK Party on selected issues.
Ahead of a constitutional referendum last April, the two parties campaigned for approval of the sweeping package of changes.
The MHP has also worked with the AK Party on foreign policy issues, particularly since the July 2016 defeated coup by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
In the referendum, Turkish voters approved a package of constitutional changes handing wide-ranging executive powers to the president and eliminating the post of prime minister, and also allowing the president to retain ties to a political party.
Next year's presidential elections will be Turkey's first under the new presidential system of government.