CHP leader slams party dissidents over in-house regulations dispute

CHP leader slams party dissidents over in-house regulations dispute

CHP leader slams party dissidents over in-house regulations dispute

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed a group of dissident lawmakers who called for more democratic in-house regulations.

Speaking at the first day of the opposition party’s 19th extraordinary congress on March 9, he told them to quit the party if they could not tow the party line.

The congress was convened to introduce new regulations in the party’s bylaws.

“Some think becoming a lawmaker means they need not follow the bylaws. They think they can show up in any TV show they want and say whatever they want. You cannot! I haven’t said anything about this until now, but from now on, if they appear on TV without permission, they do not have a place in this party,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

“We need a party that has one voice, and believes in the strength of repetition,” he added.

His comments came as a manifesto penned by 48 CHP lawmakers was published ahead of the extraordinary congress. The manifesto criticized amendments to new bylaws introduced by the CHP administration.

“We, as CHP lawmakers, will not tolerate such an understanding, which goes against its own organization and members, to be imposed on our party,” read the manifest signed by the dissident lawmakers, who saw the amendments as “anti-democratic.”

They said the amendments would abolish the “pre-election” process by granting more power to the CHP administration in presenting lawmaker lists.

The amended provision allows the administration to present candidates in cities where the CHP has not received enough votes to elect one or more lawmaker. The number of cities where the CHP has elected only one lawmaker or none is 50, while according to a current bylaw, 85 percent of lawmaker candidacies need to be presented by local party organizations.

The rebels also demanded that the presidential candidate for the 2019 elections be elected with the pre-election process, and that there should be a clear provision for this in the amended bylaw.

“With the amendment, our members should have a voice to determine their own candidates at every level,” the manifest read.

Kılıçdaroğlu dismissed the criticisms by slamming the dissidents as party members who “think about their own future rather than the future of the country or the party.”

“Those who ask ‘what will happen to me’ have no place in this party, have no place anywhere. Those who pursue personal interests have no place in this party,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

The CHP head also said he had no ambition to abolish open primary elections, claiming to be a defender of in-party democracy “more than any other party leader.”

“Why would I abolish primary elections? Did our friends, who have suggested this, look at the amendments? Those who do politics by chasing deputies are of no benefit to this country,” he said.

“Those who say ‘there is no party if I am not in it,’ can leave,” he added.