CHP approves Şişli Mayor Sarıgül's request for return
Mustafa Sarıgül (2R) poses with CHP Deputy Chairman Adnan Keskin (2L) and the party's Istanbul branch head Oğuz Kaan Salıcı (L) before a meeting on Oct. 31.As expected, Mustafa Sarıgül's long awaited return to the Republican People's Party (CHP) has been made official, after a vote by the party's assembly that gathered in Ankara Nov. 3.
Long tipped as the CHP's candidate for the Istanbul mayoralty in the coming March 2014 local elections, the popular mayor of the city's Şişli district has sealed the comeback to his former party after his controversial expulsion in 2005.
Sarıgül's return gathered the support of 44 party assembly members, while 10 members voted against his request. With the vote, the CHP's party assembly accepted Sarıgül's demand to remove what he described as the "unjust expulsion decision," reinstating his membership of the party.
The Şişli mayor is considered by many as the figure who can garner the most votes against any potential ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate in Turkey's largest city. However, Sarıgül, who was once seen as the flag-bearer CHP's progressive wing, is reportedly not favored by a number of prominent members of the party and will still face tough opposition before securing his Istanbul candidacy.
CHP Deputy Chairman and former Istanbul Branch Head Gürsel Tekin and former Gazaintep Mayor Celal Doğan are among those who have officially announced that they will seek to be nominated as the party's Istanbul candidate.
Sarıgül, the mayor of Şişli since 1999, founded the Turkey Movement for Change (TDH) in 2008.