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Turkish opposition picks presidential candidate

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ISTANBUL (AP) — Two of Turkey's main opposition parties will field a joint candidate in the country's upcoming presidential election — selecting a former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for a race in which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also expected to run.

The opposition secular Republican People's Party, or CHP, and the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, agreed on former OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu as their candidate in the Aug. 10 election. It will be the first time a Turkish president is elected directly by the people rather than by parliament.

"It is a great courtesy to be a focal point in this compromise . I welcome CHP and MHP's joint decision with gratitude and respect," the state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Ihsanoglu, an academic and diplomat, as saying Monday.

Erdogan has not yet announced his candidacy but is widely expected to do so.

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