[QODLink]
Europe
Turkey's opposition picks new head
Kilicdaroglu takes charge of CHP, pledging to take it to power with focus on social issues.
Last Modified: 23 May 2010 10:21 GMT
Kilicdaroglu has a little over a year to improve his party's chances of defeating the ruling AKP [AFP]

Turkey's main opposition party has elected its new leader, after the former chairman resigned this month over a sex scandal.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu stood unopposed for the leadership of the pro-secular Republican People's Party (CHP), and will challenge Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, in elections due next year.

"We will rebuild Turkey; we will improve democracy with rule of law," Kilicdaroglu, 61, told delegates at the CHP's meeting on Sunday in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

As head of the opposition, he pledged to take the CHP into power and to fight poverty, unemployment and corruption.

After being formally elected party leader, Kilicdaroglu said: "We will introduce a political ethics law. Racketeers, pillagers and swindlers have no place in parliament."

The CHP has struggled in offering itself as an alternative to the Islamic-oriented ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), often appearing to be authoritarian and out of step with its social-democratic grass-roots.

Political scandal

The CHP suffered a blow earlier this month when a secretly taped video apppeared on the internet purportedly showing Deniz Baykal,its chairman, in an intimate encounter with a female legislator who used to be his aide.

Baykal stepped down soon after the sex scandal erupted.

Kilicdaroglu, a former head of Turkey's social security agency, led an association dedicated to fighting state corruption before winning a parliament seat in 2002.

He has since exposed documents alleging corruption that forced the resignation of two senior figures from the AKP.

The CHP is Turkey's oldest political party, having been founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the architect of modern Turkey, in 1923.

It lost the 2007 general elections to the AKP, which the CHP accuses of trying to undo the country's secular system by mixing Islam with politics.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.