Turkey opposition names rival to Erdogan for June election

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Muharrem Ince, 3 May 18 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Muharrem Ince carries the hopes of secularist Turks opposed to Mr Erdogan

Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has announced its candidate to challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in next month’s snap presidential election.

Muharrem Ince is staunchly secular and a fiery critic of Mr Erdogan. He has been an MP since 2002.

The CHP plans to ally for the first time with right-wing parties, in the hope of beating Mr Erdogan.

Mr Erdogan’s conservative AK Party has a majority in parliament.

He called the snap election to cement his position with enhanced powers. Parliamentary elections will be held on the same day, 24 June.

Secularists are fundamentally opposed to the AK Party’s agenda, seeing it as creeping Islamisation of the state.

Image copyright EPA

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Mr Ince hails from the north-western province of Yalova. The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Istanbul says he is a safe choice for the CHP.

Mr Ince once said he would put the lavish presidential palace built by Mr Erdogan up for sale if he won and accused the president and AK Party of being behind the failed coup in 2016.

However, the CHP base rarely exceeds 25% in a country that is increasingly conservative, our correspondent says.

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