CHP eases party leadership candidacy rules

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The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has implemented a new party bylaw following a two-day extraordinary congress, easing the conditions to present a candidate for the leadership post.

CHP delegates accepted the new 84-article bylaw at the party’s 19th extraordinary congress on March 10 after heated debates on primary election procedures and in-party democracy.

With the new bylaw, the percentage of votes that delegates will need in order to present a leadership candidate is lowered to 5 percent from 10 percent. As a result, 64 signatures of around 1,200 delegates will be sufficient to present a candidate for the leadership post.

The new bylaw also included provisions regulating the criteria for selection of presidential candidates following criticisms from lawmakers who wanted more clarity.

It was stated that presidential candidates will be determined by either voter polls, pre-election, candidate polls, or central polls. The method will be determined in due course by the Party Assembly.

While the congress discusses the provision determining lawmaker candidates, some deputies protested as the new bylaw grants more power to the CHP’s central administration in preparing lawmaker lists.

In his speech at the congress, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu sought to assuage these concerns.

“Pre-elections have not been lifted. There are just some new regulations to be able to determine candidates in a balanced manner,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The amended provision allows the administration to present candidates in provinces where the CHP has not received enough votes to elect one or more lawmaker. The number of provinces where the CHP has elected only one lawmaker or none is 50, so critical lawmakers argue that this number indicates that the majority of lawmakers will be presented by the central authority.

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