CHP dissident calls for snap convention, targets Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership after election failure

CHP dissident calls for snap convention, targets Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership after election failure

CHP dissident calls for snap convention, targets Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership after election failure Dubbing the Nov. 1 snap election results a “failure” for his party and its leader, a leading figure in Turkey’s main opposition party has called for an extraordinary convention, vowing to challenge for the leadership of the party.

The Nov. 1 election marked a failure, not only for the Republican People’s Party (CHP) but for all opposition parties, Umut Oran, a former CHP deputy, said on Nov. 4.

“As CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu pointed out many times, the only criterion for success is coming to power. If the CHP cannot come to power, the only truth is failure,” Oran said in a written statement.

“In this regard, no CHP official has the right to say ‘We increased from 24.9 percent to 25.3 percent.’ The CHP is a party that managed to reach 25.94 percent and secure 135 lawmakers in the 2011 election. No CHP executive should be pleased with saying ‘We have increased number of our lawmakers from 132 to 134,” Oran added.

His statement apparently referred to remarks delivered by CHP Secretary-General Gürsel Tekin on Nov. 3 ruling out Kılıçdaroğlu’s resignation.

“Of course, we don’t consider the election as a success. But we are the only party [apart from the Justice and Development Party, AKP] that increased its share of votes and number of lawmakers from the previous election,” Tekin said, adding that the CHP’s congress would likely be held in February, in line with the typical timeline.

The CHP won 132 seats with just under 25 percent of the votes in the June 7 election, which led to a re-election after no parties were able to form a single-party or coalition government. According to unofficial results by the state-run Anadolu Agency, as a result of the Nov. 1 snap poll the AKP will hold 317 seats, the CHP will hold 134 seats, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will hold 59 seats, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will hold 40 seats at parliament.

“In light of this picture, the party chair should call an extraordinary convention without losing further time and he should urgently refresh confidence. The legal and political reasons for an extraordinary convention exist. If Kılıçdaroğlu doesn’t face the truth and fulfill such a requirement, then the duty will fall onto the shoulders of the CHP party organization and current party delegates,” Oran said.

“I’m calling on all members of the CHP: Let’s realize change and transformation together. I’m ready to take all kinds of duties and responsibilities to ensure the CHP comes to power,” he added.

In order to convene an extraordinary convention, dissidents must obtain the signatures of 1/5 of the nearly 1,300 delegates that would be invited to the gathering. 

Kılıçdaroğlu was elected CHP chairman in 2010 to replace Deniz Baykal, following the release of a video recording showing the latter “in flagrante delicto” with a former CHP deputy. 

Since then, Kılıçdaroğlu has tried to reform the party to take a more liberal-democratic line, but his decision to import a number of right-wing politicians to demonstrate inclusivity has drawn controversy. 

This is not the first time that his leadership has been challenged. Following the Aug. 10 presidential election in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ascended to the presidency from prime ministry, a group of disgruntled lawmakers openly called on Kılıçdaroğlu to resign and to take the party to a convention to elect a new leader. In particular, they harshly criticized the appointment of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu as the opposition’s joint presidential candidate with the MHP. İhsanoğlu, a former secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), received around 38 percent of votes in the election, even less than the sum of the votes of the two parties in the local election earlier in 2014.