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Turkish Opposition Party Faces Rift As Delegates Push For New Congress

The rift within Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) widens as a number of delegates push for a party congress to elect a new leader after the electoral defeat last month.

Delegates reached 604 signatures in a bid to hold a new party congress to challenge current Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu‘s grip on power. A group of lawmakers and party members interpret the June 24 election results as a clear-cut defeat for CHP and press for a leadership change to address the demands of the party base.

The struggle has become a bitter one when a group of officials initiated a process to collect signatures from party delegates.

The demand for new party congress also reveals the tug of war and competition between Kilicdaroglu and Muharrem Ince, CHP’s candidate in the June 24 presidential elections.

Ince won slightly more than 30 percent of the votes, while his party stumbled in parliamentary elections with garnering around 22 percent of the votes. The disparity of figures was palpable and the lackluster performance of the CHP leader was not lost on keen observers as well as the party base.

But the CHP chairman voiced disapproval for efforts seeking another party congress, less than six months the last one which took place this February. Kilicdaroglu slammed his party fellows for “selfish interests.”

“We have to look at Turkey’s agenda. People are being kept in prisons. Extrajudicial executions take place at the hands of the judiciary. The economy is in a dismal state. People are fighting for livelihood,” he said.

“And some people eye for upper positions, unacceptable,” he added in an expression of criticism.

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