Turkey’s Opposition Names Kılıçdaroğlu as Presidential Candidate

Turkey's six-party alliance has named Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), as their joint candidate for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14....

Turkey’s Opposition Names Kılıçdaroğlu as Presidential Candidate
Image credit: Anadolu [via Al Jazeera]
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Facts

  • Turkey's six-party alliance has named Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), as their joint candidate for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14.1
  • Kılıçdaroğlu was picked as the opposition seeks to oust Pres. Erdoğan after a two-decade reign. 'Our table is the table of peace. Our only goal is to take the country to days of prosperity, peace, and joy,' he told 2K people gathered in Ankara.2
  • The nomination was preceded by days of wrangling within the coalition, which includes six parties spanning right-wing nationalists, political Islamists, and secularists. Kılıçdaroğlu vowed to make the leaders of the other five opposition parties his vice presidents should he win the presidency.3
  • The nomination also comes amid criticism that the 74-year-old economist lacks the political flair and charisma required to challenge Erdoğan. The alliance has pledged to return to a parliamentary rather than a presidential system.4
  • Polls indicate that the parliamentary and presidential elections in two months will be tight, with the opposition bloc slightly ahead of the governing alliance. The six-party alliance pledges to overturn many of Erdoğan's economic, domestic, and foreign affairs policies.5
  • If they win, the opposition wants to reduce the president's powers. It also aims to continue Turkey's bid for membership in the EU and restore independence to the country's central bank.6

Sources: 1Al Jazeera, 2Reuters, 3New York Times, 4Guardian, 5France 24 and 6Dw.com.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Archive. Kılıçdaroğlu's nomination isn't the show of force the opposition needs. It took months, 12 high-profile meetings, and very public infighting for them to decide on him as their presidential candidate. Although the six parties finally agreed, they've revealed just how fragile the opposition bloc is — leaving Kılıçdaroğlu vulnerable to attacks by Erdoğan.
  • Narrative B, as provided by New York Times. Kılıçdaroğlu  is a strong candidate that represents diverse political forces. He has vowed to restore democracy if elected, and will be a very different president than the incumbent, who has damaged the country's economy — with inflation as high as 85% last year — and pushed the nation to the brink of authoritarianism. The coalition no doubt faces challenges, but this election is a prime opportunity to remove Erdoğan from power.