The top decision-making body of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will not call for a snap convention, CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan has said, stressing that the party’s administration “fully supports” current leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu against in-house calls for a leadership change.
“Our leader has no agenda to make a call for a snap convention. The Central Executive Board [MYK] also has no agenda of a convention,” Tezcan said in a press conference held during the top executive meeting on July 5.
The CHP has been roiled by in-house discussions after defeated presidential candidate Muharrem İnce fueled a debate over a change in leadership, saying he had offered Kılıçdaroğlu “honorary leadership” and “parliamentary group leadership” if İnce took over as leader.
The CHP received 22.5 percent of the vote in June 24 parliamentary election while İnce received over 30 percent in the presidential election, prompting supporters of İnce to say the results show the need for a change to take the party forward.
Kılıçdaroğlu has been leader since 2010 and has been defeated in four general elections in that time.
İnce has said he will not compete against Kılıçdaroğlu directly, but will give a consent to a convention if there is such a demand from the party grassroots.
Party sources say İnce’s supporters had already started collecting signatures to hold a congress before the MYK’s decision.
However, Tezcan said the CHP administration “is behind its leader [Kılıçdaroğlu] in unanimity.”
He added that the CHP administration believes both parliamentary and presidential election results are a consequence of Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership decisions and any convention would be “harmful to the period when we are assessing the election.”
As the by-law necessitates 51 percent of the votes of all delegates to call an extraordinary convention, Tezcan said “we do not think that attempt would be successful.”
“[Collecting] signatures [for a convention] is a right that is stipulated by the by-law. Nobody would oppose that but the leader has no call for such a convention,” he said.
“We observe that the majority of the delegates are thinking that it is not appropriate to lure the party into a convention discussion,” he added.
Referring to İnce’s “honorary leadership” offer, Tezcan said “Kılıçdaroğlu does not need any other leadership post.”
CHP backs ‘Nation Alliance’s’ future
Meanwhile, Tezcan also said the CHP supports the continuation of its June 24 election alliance with the İYİ (Good) Party and the Felicity Party (SP) within the framework of the “principles” agreed in the alliance.
“The values of the alliance protocol are the kinds that would extend to the post-election period. In this term, the superiority of law, the independence of the judiciary, building democracy, reinstating the principle of separation of powers, lifting the state of emergency and maintaining a strong parliament are the shared values of the alliance,” Tezcan said.
His words came after an İYİ Party spokesperson said on July 4 that the alliance is “no longer necessary.”
“Technically the alliance ended after the election. But in terms of this shared value, we think that the will to act together in line with these values will continue,” Tezcan added.