Rivalries in opposition head towards congress
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP Deputy Chairman Nihat Matkap says the party would ask delegates to convey their views on statute changes at provincial congresses starting in March this year. Hürriyet photoA long-standing intra-party struggle within the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) appeared to heat up as opponents of Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu announced a move to force a congress to amend the party’s statute.
In an immediate counter-maneuver, CHP Deputy Chairman Nihat Matkap responded that the statute would be amended at a congress in July or August, ahead of the party’s scheduled congress this year. He stressed they would collect input from delegates about what changes should be made.
A group of former provincial chairmen, dismissed after Kılıçdaroğlu came to power in May 2010, announced at a press conference Jan. 6 that they were starting to collect signatures from party delegates to call a “statute congress” as soon as possible.
Ali Yıldızlı, known to be close to CHP’s former Secretary-General Önder Sav, said Kılıçdaroğlu had failed to keep promises to reform the party’s current “undemocratic statute.”
In a separate press conference shortly afterwards, Matkap announced the party would ask delegates to convey their views on statute changes at provincial congresses that would start in March.
“Statute changes will be debated at provincial congresses, and then we will be ready in June. And then, we want to convene the statute congress in July or August, free from any controversy,” Matkap told reporters.
The immediate aim of the intra-party opposition is to secure the convention of a congress and then maneuver to force Kılıçdaroğlu to agree to a chairmanship election, sources said. Another objective of Kılıçdaroğlu’s rivals is to convene the congress before March so as to prevent any change among delegates at provincial congresses.
During the provincial congresses, delegates close to former Chairman Deniz Baykal and Sav are likely to be replaced by delegates close to Kılıçdaroğlu, according to party sources. Kılıçdaroğlu’s supporters believe that transforming the delegate structure would strengthen the CHP chairman’s grip of the party leadership. k HDN