In a party congress that came after weeks of intra-party wrangling and squabbling, Kemal Kilicdaroglu has been re-elected as the chairman of secular main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Mr. Kilicdaroglu won votes of the 790 delegates out of 1266 available votes while his rival Muharrem Ince got 447 delegates in a contest that once had the potential to bring a change to Turkey’s largest opposition party.
A string of election defeats over the past eight years has led to a search for fresh blood within the party. Mr. Ince has launched an insurgency against the current chairman, accusing him of failing to shore up the dispirited CHP base in the face of creeping authoritarianism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The results exposed a different contest than expected. Only 165 delegates signed a petition to offer Mr. Ince as a candidate. But his acquisition of 447 votes points to the presence of a serious discontent within the party toward incumbent Chairman Kilicdaroglu’s leadership. For his nomination, Mr. Kilicdaroglu had the backing of 1080 delegates. But nearly 300 of them did not vote for his re-election in the party congress.
After the announcement of the results, Mr. Kilicdaroglu thanked party delegates and vowed to represent CHP values in the best way.