Turkey’s main opposition CHP named Muharrem Ince as the party’s candidate to run in the presidential elections in June to restore democracy and change the Constitution for a well functioning parlimentary system in Turkey.
Charismatic and Tough
The 53-year-old candidate, was elected as a parliamentarian for four consecutive times in 2002, 2007, 2011 and 2015 from his hometown Yalova district. He is well known for his speeches against the AKP and Erdoğan’s anti-democratic policies, that went viral amongst his 3.6 million followers on Twitter.
Ince is known in Turkish politics as one of the fiercest speakers of the main opposition against Erdogan’s regime. He is regarded as a charismatic and resilient politician who also happens to be well-versed in local politics due to his former profession as a physics teacher and his civil background.
Family Roots of Conservatives from 1950s
As a son of right-wing Democratic Party supporter originated from Thessaloniki in Greek Macedonia, CHP Yalova deputy, former CHP Deputy Parliamentary Leader, Muharrem İnce may also be welcomed by conservative voters too.
“My sister has been wearing a headscarf…but we do not use it for voting as you did, we will not use it. Women with headscarves are our sisters too and we’ll not let you to use their faith for your political desires” he said in a speech before the parlementarians in 2013.
Ince didn’t support the bill to strip 138 MPs of their immunity from prosecution in 2016 on which CHP’s Enis Berberoğlu and some MPs of HDP lost their immunity. Many observers claim that Ince may get the support of HDP voters too in the case of second round vote in June.
CHP Leader Once Again Proved His Democratic Stand
It redounds to CHP Leader Kılıçdaroğlu’s credit that he nominated his rival for the leadership for the last two party congress held in 2014 and last February.
Several candidates have been mentioned as possible nominees, however, and the CHP said the party’s candidate will be Ince. The Turkish Progressives’ CHP electoral base and party provincial branches reportedly support İnce, who has been a deputy of Yalova province for the CHP for 16 years and has been in political scene since his youth.
Who is Muharrem Ince?
Ince was born in the village of Elmalık in the province of Yalova in 1964. He graduated from Balıkesir University, Faculty of Education, Physics-Chemistry and worked as a physics teacher and a school principal. Later on he worked as one of the executives of Yalova Soccer Club. He was president of Atatürk Society and took active role in several NGOs. He is married with one child.
On March 30, 2014, Turkey held municipal elections, and the elections in Yalova were won by the CHP. However, AKP cancelled the elections in Yalova to hold a re-election in the city. Ince played a crucial role in the process and CHP’s candidate, Vefa Salman, won the second election as well.
Four Rivals For Presidency
In addition to AKP’s Erdogan and CHP’s Ince, the other two candidates for presindency are Meral Akşener, the female leader of the Good Party (IP), and Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned head of the Democratic People’s Party (HDP). Polls reveal that Ince and Erdogan will be running in the second round vote for the presidency.