Struggle for leadership begins in CHP after election defeat

Following the hugely disappointing result obtained by the main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) in the recent general election, there have been calls in the party for an extraordinary congress to be held for a change of leadership. Three party figures have already announced they will run for chairman in the congress that will convene by Jan. 9 at the latest, should the dissenters manage to get the support of enough party delegates. Even if the dissenters are unable to get the support of delegates for an extraordinary congress, the party is required to hold a congress in the coming months. The party only slightly increased its votes in the early election on Nov. 1, leaving the party, which expected to get up to 30 percent of the vote, highly disappointed.
The CHP received 25.3 percent in the general election, up from 24.9 in the election on June 7. The party will now be represented by 134 deputies in Parliament after it won 132 seats in the last election. The CHP administration is in favor of an ordinary congress in which case the party will have plenty of time to complete the election of the partyand’s new delegates in provinces. The dissidents need to get, as per the partyand’s code, the signatures of nearly 600 delegates by Nov. 25 to hold an extraordinary congress. Even if an extraordinary congress is held, the party delegates will have changed as the partyand’s provincial offices will have also completed their ordinary congresses ahead of it, a Cumhuriyet daily report said on Tuesday. CHP spokesperson Haluk Koandc said in a press meeting on Tuesday the CHP will be ready to hold its ordinary congress by the middle of January when the partyand’s provincial offices have completed their congresses. He said 12 provinces and 149 districts have already held their congresses. The three candidates who will run for chairman argue that Kemal Kiliandcdaroilu, the current leader of the party, failed to put up a performance that could win over voters. Kiliandcdaroilu has been CHP chairman since May 2010, and has failed in six elections against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) since then. Muharrem ince, a CHP deputy who last year unsuccessfully ran for chairman in an extraordinary congress after the AK Partyand’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected president by popular vote, is one of the candidates. The second figure running for chairman is Umut Oran, who also previously ran against former CHP chairman Deniz Baykal for the partyand’s top post. Oran was a CHP deputy before the June election but was not listed on the CHP ticket as a deputy candidate in the last two general elections. The third CHP figure who will join the race is Mustafa Balbay, a deputy who is a journalist by profession. According to reports in the media, Baykal, a senior CHP figure, is also considering running for chairman if the current candidates cannot manage to agree to join forces to back a single candidate.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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