New CHP, new front desk, new policies
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu says one of the themes of the congress is change. AA photo
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is holding perhaps the most crucial congress of its history. New policies will mark the congress to be held this month, as well as a new front desk for the party that will elaborate the “new CHP” discourse. For this reason, Kılıçdaroğlu has decided on the theme of the congress as “full democracy and change.”
Kılıçdaroğlu, who has no rivals in this congress, aims to create a party structure that will provide an “action and discourse unity.” For this reason, instead of searching for “famous” names, he wants to transfer to the party assembly (PA) those influential actors who have the ability to affect the man on the street, who are well equipped, experts in their fields, and who are respected in their own circles. Several new names are being mentioned who can represent the CHP on a wide spectrum from center right to left. There are expectations for a few surprise names also.
In the corridors of the party, there are a number of names circulating. From the existing members of the Central Executive Board (MYK), such names as Erdoğan Toprak, Nihat Matkap, Sencer Ayata, Faruk Loğoğlu, Faik Öztark and Sezgin Tanrıkulu are regarded as certain to become PA members. For the first time in the PA, a quota for 33 percent women and 10 percent youth will be allocated. A new PA structure that will blend old and new names together is also being targeted. It is rumored that Kılıçdaroğlu will include such experienced names from the past as Murat Karayalçın, Fikri Sağlar, Ercan Karakaş, Yüksel Çakmur and Celal Doğan in the PA.
Expectation is also high that Kılıçdaroğlu will change the administration of the parliamentary group. It is said that Emine Ülker Tarhan, who has been visiting many cities recently just like an activist, and the other deputy group chairman Akif Hamzaçebi, will be transferred to the party administration and an experienced politician Adnan Keskin will be appointed to the deputy leadership of the parliamentary group. Experienced politician and former party chairman Altan Öymen is expected to run the congress.
Kılıçdaroğlu, perhaps for the first time, is holding a congress with a loyal delegate structure formed with close aides Toprak and Nihat Matkap. Kılıçdaroğlu, who has taken the CHP to these days from the policies and delegate structure he inherited from the Deniz Baykal-Önder Sav duo, was not able to fully form the front desk and the party policies he wished to before the June 12 elections. With congresses held one after the other, he has gradually been able to do this and obtained satisfactory results. He has also finally been able to make his first serious proclamations on the Kurdish issue.
Kılıçdaroğlu wants to make his own mark in this congress and enter the 2015 process with a road map that he has drawn. He is exerting efforts so that he can carry the CHP forward with the delegate, policy and organizational structure he has personally formed, first to the 2014 local elections, then to the presidential elections and then on to the 2015 general elections. For this reason he is trying to prevent inner-party opposition from infiltrating his list. Can the opposition do this? If they work on a few certain names especially and in an organized way, they do have a chance to succeed.
Kılıçdaroğlu, in this congress, by forming the structure that will undertake three important elections, is also taking on the responsibility of possible future bills. The bills of failure that up to now were credited to inner-party opposition and/or to Baykal-Sav policies, will be addressed directly to Kılıçdaroğlu in these three important elections. With this in mind, Kılıçdaroğlu is carefully trying to form the new CHP, the new party administration and the new policies. He knows he does not have the luxury to make a mistake. A deputy chairman very close to Kılıçdaroğlu said the following: “Be open to surprises. After the congress, we will develop policies and take steps on several important topics similar to our initiative for a solution to the Kurdish issue.”
AKP will touch on taboos in the new constitution
The Constitution Conciliation Committee aims to finalize the draft of the new constitution by working through the summer. Important topics have not been covered yet as several articles were either skipped or drafted with reservations. It is expected that intense debates will break loose when time comes to those articles concerning “system and regime.” Form the impression I gained from within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), several proposals are prepared on important topics that were considered “taboo” until today and that were not brought up for 10 years. Among them are these whispered chapters: “softening of the strict secularism, semi or full presidential system, the General Staff reporting to the Defense Ministry, lifting of the outfit ban and opening the way to a headscarf wearing deputy, compulsory religious education, constitutional guarantees against coups.”
Thick files on political immunity
Parliament went into recess and now all the statistics are out.
Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek briefed the press on the political immunity files of deputies covering the past year. Some 740 files were sent to Parliament about 101 deputies with the demand that their political immunity be lifted. They were all left to the end of the term. Among these files, 193 of them are on propagandizing for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 161 on violating the law on assembly and demonstrations, 118 on praising a crime and criminal, 39 for being a member of an illegal organization and 39 for violating essential rules of elections. What the rest of the files were regarding was not made known. Çiçek argued that these files should not all be regarded as “corruption files.”