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Turkey opposition names Kilicdaroglu as joint challenger to Erdogan

Turkey's often divided opposition parties have come together to choose a single candidate to face President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May's election.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu leads the main secular opposition party, the centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP).

Polls suggest a tight race in a country highly polarised after two decades of Mr Erdogan's authoritarian rule.

Economic crisis and errors during last month's earthquake may make him more vulnerable than in previous elections.

A huge crowd of supporters cheered Mr Kilicdaroglu, a former civil servant, as he was chosen by a six-party opposition alliance.

The quiet-spoken 74 year old offers a radically different vision in both substance and style to the fiery, charismatic Mr Erdogan's.

However, some of Mr Kilicdaroglu's allies fear he lacks popular appeal.

He promised his supporters that he would govern Turkey through consensus and consultation.

"Our table is the table of peace," he said, quoted by Reuters news agency. "Our only goal is to take the country to days of prosperity, peace and joy."

He also said he would return the country to a parliamentary system. Mr Erdogan oversaw a transition to a presidential system in 2018, gaining sweeping powers.


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