Turkey’s largest opposition party CHP elected a new leader on Sunday. After the defeat in the parliamentary and presidential elections in May, Kemal Kilicdaroglu (75) now has to make way for Özgür Özel (49). This puts an end to Kilicdaroglu’s 13-year presidency at the head of the Social Democratic Party.
Although Kilicdaroglu had put together a broad alliance for the May 14 parliamentary and presidential elections, he failed to lead the opposition to victory. He lost to incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the presidential elections. As a veteran party leader, Kilicdaroglu was criticized for refusing to resign while his party was in the doldrums.
The new party leader Özgür Özel calls for reforms in the party. The CHP wants to defend the most important mayoral positions in Istanbul and Ankara in the municipal elections early next year.
Özel is a pharmacist by profession and was previously CHP faction leader in parliament. He comes from the province of Manisa in the west of the country. He is married and has one daughter.