CHP heavyweight declares candidacy for leadership against Kılıçdaroğlu

CHP heavyweight declares candidacy for leadership against Kılıçdaroğlu

CHP heavyweight declares candidacy for leadership against Kılıçdaroğlu

Özgür Özel, a heavyweight of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has announced his candidacy for the party leadership against Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu with calls for change in the social democrats’ policies and mentality following the defeat in May polls.

“I am declaring my candidacy to the chairmanship of the CHP, the party of [modern Türkiye founder Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk, to come to power,” Özel said, calling all the party fellows to join this march.

Özel announced his candidacy for the leadership at a press conference he held at the CHP headquarters on Sept. 15 with the participation of his supporters and released a booklet under the title of “The Change of the Century; The Century of the Change.”

“This booklet is just a first step. But it represents commitment and collective mind. This march of ours is not just aiming to change the leader but to start a movement of cadres,” he said. Özel vowed that upcoming local elections can be won only thanks to the power of hope that will be accumulated through the change in the party.

The calls for change will prioritize the youth, the women and the laborers as well as disadvantaged groups, Özel said, stressing a new political understanding with new approaches is needed.

“We have to change Türkiye by changing the CHP,” he said.

Özel, who is currently serving as the CHP’s parliamentary group leader, will race against Kılıçdaroğlu in the upcoming party convention should the latter decide to run for another term. The CHP is planning to hold its convention in the first weeks of November.

Kılıçdaroğlu was the center of criticism after he lost the presidential election against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May polls. The CHP-led opposition alliance could not get a parliamentary majority either.

Özel also slammed Kılıçdaroğlu indirectly for not taking political responsibility for the defeat and closing his ears to the calls of the people following the elections. “The approaches taken by the party management has caused an emotional detachment in the hearts of our electors,” he suggested.

He also criticized Kılıçdaroğlu for his decision to ally with the small conservative parties before the elections that pledged them 39 lawmakers from the CHP.

In the meantime, Professor Örsan Kunter Öymen, a former member of the CHP Party Assembly, announced his candidacy for the leadership.