After Weeks of Wrangling, Turkey’s CHP Will Not Hold Convention
After weeks of intense squabbling and haggling between rival factions, Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) decided that it will not hold an emergency convention to elect a new leader, the party’s spokesman said on Wednesday.
The push for a new party congress hit a snag as the controversy over the number of signatures by delegates required by party bylaws remained unresolved.
CHP spokesperson Bulent Tezcan told media members that the number of signatures currently remained at 569, far from the needed 630, as several irregularities and technical errors occurred pro-convention party officials submitted their petition to the party headquarters.
The number of delegates was 618 in the petition, Tezcan said. Several of the signatures was duplicated ones, while some of the delegates already lost their status after being stripped of party membership. And 31 delegates withdrew their signatures, inflicting a fatal blow to the initiative taken by party officials affiliated with Muharrem Ince, who ran against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as CHP’s presidential candidate in the June 24 elections.
With the problematic ones put aside, the legitimate and acceptable number of signatures stands as 569, the party spokesman said. Within these conditions, he added, there would be no emergency convention.
The secular CHP plunged into a simmering intra-party squabble after the election. The party’s poor standing and defeat triggered a soul-searching as well.
Ince, who earned eight percent more votes than his party, came up with the idea of a new Congress in a bid for leadership change after many blamed current Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s meek and lackluster performance for the CHP’s electoral defeat.
Kilicdaroglu’s record at the helm of CHP in the past eight years has placed him at the heart of an intra-party controversy. He has lost countless elections against Erdogan and his party since 2010 when he became the CHP chairman.
Still, his loyal lieutenants dismissed the push seeking his removal as a plot to weaken the main opposition party. But the CHP leader’s unflinching opponents and discontents believe that the party needs a change and a fresh face to reinvigorate the disgruntled and disaffected party base.