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Türkiye’s opposition picks its own

IT took them long enough. On March 6, less than 70 days before the scheduled date for Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections, a group of six opposition leaders, collectively known as the National Coalition or the Six, announced that Republican leader Kemal Kilidaro Kemal Kilicdaroglu People’s Party (Cogeneration), as their presidential candidates. The atmosphere outside the headquarters of the Happiness Party in Ankara, where the meeting took place, was almost without electricity. As Mr Kilicdaroglu spoke, his political allies watched impassively. Meral Aksener, leader of the Iyi (“good”) party, the coalition’s second-largest bloc, looked as if he had swallowed a bar of soap.

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Mr Kilicdaroglu’s nomination, supposed to be a formality, has turned into a drama. On 3 March, the day after opposition leaders confirmed they had identified a candidate, Mrs Akerson abruptly left the table of six meeting, saying she had refused to back Mr Kilidaroglu, and visited the Kerem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas, Cogeneration Mayors of Istanbul and Ankara, salute them. She said the choice between Turkey’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Mr Kilicdaroglu was “between death and malaria.” choose”.She succumbed at the 11th hour, at Cogeneration The leader promised to name the two mayors as his vice presidents. However, Türkiye’s vice presidency is not important.

Mrs Aksener was not entirely wrong to be suspicious of Mr Kilicdaroglu.Humble for the opposition, which is committed to abolishing Mr Erdogan’s executive presidency – synonymous with one-man rule – and easing tensions at home and abroad. Cogeneration A leader who is more a propagandist than a demagogue may be the best president. But he could also be the worst candidate. Opinion polls over the past year have shown that Mr Yavas and Mr Imamoglu have a much better chance of defeating Mr Erdogan in the runoff round of the presidential election.

Yet Mrs Ackerson’s botched power play has damaged not only her own standing with voters, but also the opposition’s collective image. Her strike reminded many Turks of the 1990s, when bickering politicians toppled coalition governments one by one. Mr Erdogan is sure to slowly recall them over the next two months.

But to defeat Mr. Kilicdaroglu, he’ll need to do more than that. Slowing growth and 55% inflation have sapped support for Turkey’s leader and his ruling coalition of the Justice and Development Party (AK) and nationalist movements (MHP) party. The government has also come under fire for its slow response to the earthquake that killed more than 52,000 people in southern Turkey and Syria last month. It took days for rescue teams to reach the main city, and countless survivors died under the rubble. Anger also mounted after it was revealed that the Turkish Red Crescent had sold thousands of tents to charities, rather than distributing them for free. Mr Kilicdaroglu appears to have seized on the momentum. Pollster Turkiye Raporu puts him at most 8 points ahead of Erdogan.

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