CHP announces annual congress to be held in January

Todays Zaman
Publication date: 
Nov 22 2015

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has announced that it will hold its annual congress to elect a new leader for the party on Jan. 15-16, after having failed to capitalize on a snap election on Nov. 1 which allowed the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to regain power.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the CHP leader, will see his chairmanship challenged as the party's percentage of the vote was around the 25 percent mark in both the June 7 general election and the snap election earlier this month. Deputies Muharrem İnce and Umut Oran have thrown their hats into the ring.

Kılıçdaroğlu said in a press statement late on election night that the result had placed further responsibility on the party's shoulders, underlining that steps toward change in his party would be made decisively.

The announcement made on Sunday that the party will be holding its annual congress in January has rendered obsolete the statement made by 42 former provincial heads from the CHP, still active delegates despite losing their provincial posts, requesting an extraordinary assembly in November or December.

The addition of Muharrem İnce to the leadership race has added to the question of whether Kılıçdaroğlu can weather the storm. İnce unsuccessfully ran against Kılıçdaroğlu for the leadership in the past but managed to attain more votes than many expected.

İnce received 415 votes, despite being nominated as a candidate by only 177 delegates.

Making the point that that Turkey did not have a single-party government before the snap election of Nov. 1, İnce wounded Kılıçdaroğlu saying: “I speak to the conscience of Turkey. How can a CHP that has lost six elections [under the leadership of Kılıçdaroğlu] win three elections in 2019?”

Turkey is scheduled to hold a parliamentary election, a local election and a presidential election in 2019.

According to the official result of the Nov. 1 election, the CHP only slightly increased its share of the vote, winning 25.3 percent -- up only 0.4 percent from the 24.9 percent it won in the June 7 general election.

The party won 132 seats in Parliament in the previous election and will now be represented by 134 deputies. No CHP deputies managed to win in 35 provinces.