Turkish opposition names candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu to take on Erdoğan in May election

Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu emerged on Monday as the main challenger to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in landmark elections expected on May 14, after a six-party alliance picked him as expected as its presidential candidate.

Kılıçdaroğlu, 74, head of the country’s second-biggest party, aims to emerge from Erdoğan’s shadow and oust the president after a two-decade reign that has transformed the NATO member country and major emerging market economy.

“Our table is the table of peace. Our only goal is to take the country to days of prosperity, peace and joy,” Kılıçdaroğlu, chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told some 2,000 people gathered in Ankara. “We will govern Turkey with consultation and consensus,” he stressed.

Polls suggest that the presidential and parliamentary votes in two months will be tight, with the opposition bloc running slightly ahead of the governing alliance.

The bloc has vowed to reverse many of Erdoğan’s policies on the economy, civil rights and foreign affairs in what many potentially see as the most consequential election in the republic’s 100-year history.

Yet some doubt that the feisty former economist, who climbed the ranks as a corruption fighter, can defeat Erdoğan, Turkey’s longest-serving leader whose campaigning charisma has helped achieve more than a dozen election victories.

A former civil servant, Kılıçdaroğlu could take advantage of years of economic crisis and soaring inflation, as well as last month’s devastating earthquakes in the south that killed more than 46,000 people and brought criticism of the state’s response.

Voters will decide not only who leads Turkey but how it is governed, where its economy is headed and what role it may play to ease the conflict in Ukraine and conflicts in the Middle East.





Arab Observer


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