Turkey’s main opposition elects Ozgur Ozel as new leader in run-up to local elections

ANKARA: Turkey’s most important opposition Republican Folks’s Get together (CHP) on Sunday elected Ozgur Ozel as its new chief, ending a 13-year time period for incumbent Kemal Kilicdaroglu, because the nation gears up for native elections subsequent March.
Ozel, 49, has been serving because the CHP’s deputy parliamentary group chairman since 2015 and has been a lawmaker since 2011. He introduced his candidacy in September, after Kilicdaroglu and the CHP’s painful defeat to President Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling political alliance in Could presidential and basic elections.
Ozel, a pharmacist by commerce, obtained 812 of 1,366 doable votes at a tense, hours-long social gathering congress in Ankara that took two rounds.
“That is the best honour of my life,” Ozel stated after the outcomes had been introduced, whereas thanking Kilicdaroglu for his work on the social gathering. “We’re embarking on the street for native election victory,” he added.
“We’ve got believed in turning hopelessness into hope, we’re hopeful,” Ozel stated, surrounded by applauding social gathering members and standing alongside Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu.
Imamoglu supported Ozel in a push for change on the CHP that has lengthy been slowed down by in-fighting. After profitable the 2019 municipal elections in Istanbul and ending Erdogan’s years-long maintain over the town, Imamoglu was seen as a possible new chief for the social gathering and challenger for the presidency.
Nevertheless, Kilicdaroglu selected to run himself towards Erdogan within the Could elections, regardless of a number of earlier losses. After the vote, he got here below hearth for refusing to step down because the chief of the CHP, established by fashionable Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
“I carried our Nice Chief Ataturk’s legacy with honour till right this moment,” Kilicdaroglu stated on social messaging platform X after the outcomes, and congratulated Ozel. “And right this moment, with the choice our congress delegates made, I say goodbye to the put up of chairman.”
Below his 13-year time period, the CHP did not surpass a historic ceiling of 25% nationwide help. On Sunday, Kilicdaroglu opted to take the vote to a second spherical after Ozel did not safe a majority within the first spherical, regardless of calls from social gathering members to withdraw from the race.
Analysts say Kilicdaroglu’s refusal to step down or withdraw from the race had damage his legacy. Ozer Sencar, head of pollster Metropoll, stated on X that Ozel’s victory might alter the pattern of depoliticisation in Turkey following the Could elections.
“The Ozel-Imamoglu union may very well be a vital turning level within the nation’s politics,” Sencar stated.
Ozel will now lead the CHP into native elections on March 31, the place the social gathering hopes to maintain maintain of the important thing municipalities it gained in 2019, together with the capital Ankara, Turkey’s largest metropolis Istanbul, and different main cities.

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