CHP’s in-house spat over extraordinary convention deepens

CHP’s in-house spat over extraordinary convention deepens

ANKARA

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

An in-house rift for leadership in the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is seemingly deepening as the two rival sides are disagreeing on the number of supporters demanding an extraordinary convention in which current chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu would be challenged by the defeated presidential candidate Muharrem İnce. 

CHP members frustrated with Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership have submitted signatures they collected from party delegates to the party headquarters, saying that a simple majority of 1,240 delegates support the appeal for the convention.

“Some 630 delegates have signed the petition for the convention. But eight of them have not yet delivered their documents. So we submitted 622 signatures to the headquarters,” Gaye Usluer, a member of the CHP party assembly, said late Aug 2. She added that they were still waiting for the delivery of 50 more signatures, urging these delegates to send their petitions by Aug. 6.

“Our expectation from our chair, Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, is the announcement of the extraordinary convention,” she said.

But a few hours after her comments, CHP deputy leader Muharrem Erkek said an initial inquiry on the petitions has demonstrated that no sufficient support was garnered from the delegates to go to an extraordinary convention.

“Although our works are still continuing, the initial inquiry shows that requirements that were set in our internal regulations for an extraordinary convention have not been fulfilled,” Erkek stressed. But Erkek failed to detail how many valid signatures were submitted to the party headquarters.

Dissidents rule out judicial solution

In the event that both sides fail to reach an agreement on the number of signatures collected, the in-house opposition movement could take it to a court to register the appeals and press on holding the extraordinary convention. But Usluer said they will never resort to legal options in order to avoid further debates on the future of the CHP.

“Our party was founded by [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk and we will never let his party to turn into a subject to be discussed at the courts under the control of the AKP [Justice and Development Party],” Usluer stated.

The dissidents will continue to use all platforms to press on holding the convention before local elections so that the new management takes the main opposition to the polls slated for late March 2019.

İnce thanks his supporters 

İnce, who openly had voiced his intention to become CHP leader, thanked all his supporters on Twitter late Aug. 2.

“There is a need for change that would instill hope among people and would win the future. I express my endless gratitude to our supporters and our party organizations. We will race, but we will get united out of this race,” İnce stated.

İnce had garnered 30.6 percent of the votes in the June 24 elections when he ran for president, nine percentage points more than his party.