Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) replaced its leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu with Ozgur Ozel on Saturday.
‘Embarking on the road to victory’
Ozel, a former pharmacist and a lesser-known figure within the party, emerged as the new leader with support from Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu.
He secured 812 out of a potential 1,366 votes at the party congress in Ankara, which required two rounds to determine the outcome.
“This is the greatest honor of my life,” Ozel said after the results were announced. “We are embarking on the road for local election victory,” as the Turkey heads towards important local elections in March 2024.
“We have believed in turning hopelessness into hope, we are hopeful,” Ozel said as he was feted by supporters including Imamoglu.
CHP aims to build on previous success
Kilicdaroglu’s 13-year leadership of the CHP, established by modern Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, ended amid criticism over his refusal to resign after failing to break through the 25% nationwide support.
“I carried our Great Leader Ataturk’s legacy with honor until today,” Kilicdaroglu said on X, formerly known as Twitter, accepting the results, and congratulated Ozel.
“And today, with the decision our congress delegates made, I say goodbye to the post of chairman.”
Ozel will now lead the CHP into local elections on March 31 next year.
The party aims to reclaim major cities, building on their previous success after having won Istanbul and Ankara from Erdogan’s party in 2019.
ss/jsi (AFP, Reuters)