Dissidents to convey signatures to CHP for congress in one week
Rıfat Başaran - ANKARA
The two-week signature-collection period for Republican People’s Party (CHP) delegates to convey an extraordinary congress with the agenda for leadership change ends today, as the in-house discussion grows over the number of signatures and the timing of the initiation of dissidents.
The signature collection process for the dissidents, which was initiated on July 16 with a demand for leadership change within the party, has come to an end as the opposition party delegates are expected to convey the signatures with notary approval to the party administration within seven days.
Following the June 24 election results, the call for a leadership change from some CHP members has stirred an in-house debate, while some dissident delegates have started to collect signatures for an extraordinary congress to change the top party executive cadres. Supporters of the current leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu argue the party should focus on the upcoming local elections rather than dwelling on discussions.
According to the party by-law, signatures from more than half of the delegates are deemed sufficient to bring the party to a congress and delegates should collect them within 15 days. If the number is reached, then the party should hold the congress within 45 days.
The CHP has 1,230 delegates and 635 signatures are necessary for a congress.
The current number of signatures is another subject of debate within the party, as dissident names argue the number has been reached, while the party administration argues the dissidents have been unable to collect enough signatures.
Dissidents argued on July 28 that the number of signatures collected has already exceeded the requirement, however, they have not submitted the signatures to the administration. They argued they had collected 559 signatures and are waiting for the signatures of 69 delegates with notary approval.
The party administration has focused on “persuading” signatory delegates over the weekend to withdraw their signatures.
Some 129 of 144 CHP lawmakers have already announced their support to Kılıçdaroğlu with a public statement on July 27, stating the party should focus on preparing for the local elections that will be held in March 2019.
Muharrem İnce, the main opposition’s presidential candidate and Kılıçdaroğlu’s main challenger in a possible congress for the leadership seat, has already fueled the debate in a Twitter post vowing for a change, igniting reciprocal Twitter debates between supporters and dissidents.
Party members argue the discussions have escalated tensions within the party.