Turkish opposition unites against 'weaker than ever' Erdogan ahead of elections

© Adem Altan, AFP

Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the leader of Turkey's Republican People's Party (CHP), has emerged as the main challenger to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in elections scheduled for May 14. Kilicdaroglu hopes to deprive Erdogan of a third term as he grapples with the country's economic crisis and the fallout from last February's devastating earthquakes.

Turkey's presidential campaign officially kicked off on March 10 and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is running for a third mandate, now knows who his main opponent is.

Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, 74, a bookish former bureaucrat, is often described by observers as Erdogan’s polar opposite. He was chosen by the Table of Six, an alliance of the six main opposition parties, after weeks of negotiations and debates.

"Today, we are very close to overthrowing the tyrant's throne," Kiliçdaroglu said the day after his nomination.

"Together, we will end this madness,” he added.

Opinion polls say the election will be close, adding that it is the most uncertain vote ever for Erdogan since he came to power in 2003.

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