The in-house row in the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has deepened, with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu rejecting the call from the party’s defeated president candidate, Muharrem İnce, for a snap convention demanding a change in leadership.
“I am not going to make a call for an extraordinary convention because there is no need for it,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Hürriyet on July 4.
“I think there is a special effort to spark debate in the CHP so that the fall in the votes of the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP is kept out of the discussion,” he said.
The discussion in the CHP grew after İnce said on June 3 that in their first in-person meeting after June 24, he proposed Kılıçdaroğlu to step down from the leadership and become “honorary president” and “parliamentary group leader” through a change passed in a snap congress.
Following the comments, Kılıçdaroğlu said his meeting with İnce had been a private family gathering so it was “political indecency” for the latter to reveal the content of their conversation.
He said the party is still working on a comprehensive election analysis so it will be better prepared for local elections slated for March 2019. This analysis will be the primary concern of the upcoming party assembly and central decision-making body meetings.
However, İnce reiterated his call on Kılıçdaroğlu during a visit to the eastern province of Erzurum on July 4.
“We ate with the party leader in a brotherly relationship. I made a proposal and then I shared it with the public. I wanted everyone to know about it,” he said.
Dissidents start lobby for congress
Party sources state that İnce’s supporters in the party have already started works to collect necessary signatures from delegates to call an extraordinary congress, but it is uncertain whether this effort will be sufficient.
The CHP’s in-law necessitates the collection of a simple majority of votes of all delegates in order to convene a snap congress if the party’s top board rejects such a demand. A simple majority corresponds to 634 votes from 1,266 delegates.
The party had held its 36th congress in Feb 2018 in which Kılıçdaroğlu has taken the seat of leadership with 790 while İnce had received 447.
İzmir lawmakers blast İzmir mayor
Meanwhile, İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu has declared his support to calls for a congress, saying the “public and the party grassroots demand a change.”
“The June 24 elections make urgent change in the Republican People’s Party an obligation. It will further strengthen our party to realize that change under the helmet of our leader,” Kocaoğlu said in a written statement on July 4.
His comments drew criticisms from the CHP’s İzmir lawmakers, who said holding a congress in such a short period of time before a local election would be harmful for the upcoming period.
“When will we determine the candidates, how will we receive a positive result in such a case? He is not thinking about the party, he is thinking about himself,” deputy Tacettin Bayır reportedly said on July 4.
“Those who want a congress such a short time before local elections are betraying the party. This is not the business of mayors,” said deputy Özcan Purcu.
“I don’t think a congress is necessary. What is a priority now is working for the local elections,” said deputy Atilla Sertel.