CHP prepares for new congress under ‘justice and courage’ motto
Rıfat Başaran – ANKARA
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has accelerated preparations for its 36th ordinary congress where changes within the organization are expected to be marked by a leadership race and changes in the party assembly.
“The theme of the 36th ordinary congress will be ‘justice’ and ‘courage,’” CHP Spokesperson Bülent Tezcan said on Jan. 17, following the CHP’s Central Executive Board meeting in Ankara.
The current record of democracy in Turkey will be under focus in the upcoming congress, Tezcan said, repeating his party’s criticisms that the current state of emergency was deteriorating the current record of democracy and human rights in Turkey.
Turkey is set to hold three elections in 2019, including presidential and parliamentary elections, after which constitutional amendments approved during a 2017 referendum will be implemented fully. Tezcan recalled the CHP’s “No” campaign for the referendum, adding that it still firmly stood against the constitutional changes.
In the two-day congress to be held on Feb. 3 and 4, the CHP will elect a new leader and make changes to the party assembly and the High Disciplinary Board.
The party has been undergoing a series of changes in its local organizations since last year.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has since stressed on the importance of change in the party organization, as his initial promise when he had first taken the leadership post was “transformation and renovation.” But he has been criticized for not keeping his promises.
Local congresses have also seen extensive changes in the past year.
Provincial heads in 29 cities including Istanbul, Antalya and İzmir, as well as district organization administrations have changed.
The number of women in the party organizations was also increased in the past year. In provinces like Istanbul, Kütahya, Trabzon, Kayseri and Bartın, women have filled the highest positions.
Before this year only the provinces of Kütahya and Sakarya had women in their provincial leaderships.
CHP sources say the changes in the local reorganization may also be reflected onto the delegation. The sources have said that 40 seats out of the 60-seat party assembly may change in the upcoming congress.
The party is set to experience a heated race for its leadership, with former Istanbul Bar Association head Ümit Kocasakal recently announcing his candidacy for the CHP leadership.
Muharrem İnce, CHP lawmaker for the Marmara province of Yalova, on Jan. 18 also announced he will run for the party’s leadership. He ran for the same post in 2014, but lost against Kılıçdaroğlu.
Kılıçdaroğlu will be a candidate for the leadership for the seventh time in his eight-year leadership.
According to the CHP’s bylaw, 125 signatures out of the 1,100 delegates are needed to be presented in order to declare candidacy for the leadership.
The leader is elected by a secret ballot and simple majority votes.