Turkey’s main opposition party has announced that Muharrem Ince will be their presidential candidate for the elections next month.
54 year-old Ince, a former physics teacher, will be challenging President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has been in power for a decade and a half. The move was announced at a rally in Ankara by the leader of the CHP Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who had already made clear he would not be standing.
Speaking at the rally Ince said: "I will be not only the president of Republican People`s Party (CHP) or people at this area, I will be the president of 80 million, right and leftist voters, of Alevis and Sunnis, of Turks and Kurds. I will be everyone`s president, a non-partisan president."
Ince is thought to be a candidate who can match some of the tough talk often used by Erdoğan but it is likely he will also attract support from some of the conservative Western-oriented Turks.
However Erdoğan is well ahead in the polls with 40 percent and Ince just 20 percent. The jailed pro-Kurdish HDP party leader Selahattin Demirtaş has just 10 percent.
Elections for the president and for parliament were scheduled for November 2019 but have been brought forward to June 24th.
Ince will officially begin the presidential campaign in his hometown Yalova on May 5 with a rally.