Turkish opposition agrees on candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu to challenge Erdogan in upcoming elections

Turkish opposition agrees on candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu to challenge Erdogan in upcoming elections
Turkey's opposition has agreed to unite behind Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who will challenge President Erdogan in the country's upcoming elections.
2 min read
07 March, 2023
Kılıçdaroğlu has led the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) for over a decade [source: Getty]

Turkey's fractured opposition parties ended months of fractious debate on Monday and agreed to nominate secular opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu as their joint candidate against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May polls.

"Kemal Kilicdaroglu is our presidential candidate," Temel Karamollaoglu, one of the leaders of the six-party opposition alliance, announced to cheers from a huge crowd of supporters in the capital Ankara.

 Turkey's opposition alliance has vowed to reverse many of President Tayyip Erdogan's policies if elected in a vote expected May 14, and on Monday named Republican People's Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kilicdaroglu as their presidential candidate.

The six-party Nation Alliance promises to return to a parliamentary democracy, roll back unorthodox economic policies and introduce a major shift in foreign policy.

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The main promise of the Nation Alliance is to return Turkey to a parliamentary system, which they say will be "stronger" than the one in place before the country switched to the current presidential system in 2018.

They would bring back the position of prime minister, which was abolished by Erdogan through a referendum in 2017.

They also promise to turn the presidency into an "impartial" role with no political responsibility. Among their pledges are abolishing the president's right to veto legislation and issue decrees.

The president, who will sever ties to any political party, will only serve one seven-year term and be banned from active politics afterwards.

The parliament's authority to back out of international agreements will be enshrined in the constitution. It will also have more authority over planning the government budget.

In public administration, boards and offices under the presidency will be abolished and their duties will be transferred to relevant ministries.

The Nation Alliance has also promised to lower inflation, running at 55 percent in February, to single digits within two years and restore the stability of the Turkish lira, which has lost 80 percent of its value in the past five years.

The opposition bloc will adopt the slogan of "Peace at Home, Peace in the World" as the cornerstone of Turkey's foreign policy.

While promising to "work to complete the accession process" for the full membership in the European Union, the alliance has vowed to review Turkey's refugee deal of 2016 with the EU.

They have also promised to establish relations with the United States with an understanding of mutual trust, and to return Turkey to the F-35 fighter jet programme.

They say Turkey would maintain relations with Russia "with an understanding that both parties are equal and strengthened by balanced and constructive dialogue."