CHP restless ahead of two conventions

CHP restless ahead of two conventions

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP restless ahead of two conventions

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), addresses his party’s members at a party convention last year. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The dissidents within the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) are expected to maneuver to thwart the party’s Feb. 26 convention by boycotting the gathering.

The convention, called by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to amend the party statute, cannot go ahead if the majority of the 1,250 delegates do not show up. A second convention has been scheduled for the following day, Feb. 27, also to discuss amendments to the party statute, but upon the call of the dissidents.

The plan of the intra-party opposition is to block the first convention and pass their amendments to the party statute the following day, making use of the psychological advantage they would have. The party administration, for its part, is encouraging the delegates to attend both conventions.

Baykal to make his position public soon

Former Chairman Deniz Baykal’s stance would be critical. Rumored to be planning to shun the first convention, he is expected to make his position public in the coming days.

However, the party leadership does not believe the dissidents will succeed in blocking the first convention even though they are considering every scenario.

Some comment that Kılıçdaroğlu may throw the gauntlet down to the dissidents and call another extraordinary convention with chairmanship elections, or bring forward to June the ordinary convention, currently expected in the autumn.

The dissidents were the first to call an extraordinary convention, but Kılıçdaroğlu outmaneuvered them and called his own one first in a bid to forestall any amendments that could weaken his standing. The question of who calls the convention is critical as it allows the callers to determine the agenda of the gathering. The dissidents have listed a series of demands aimed at curbing Kılıçdaroğlu’s powers.

Kılıçdaroğlu has promised the dissidents’ demands for reform and broader intra-party democracy would be taken into consideration. However, the dissidents, backed by former Secretary-General Önder Sav, do not seem to be convinced.

It is believed the reform demands are just the tip of the iceberg in the intra-party tensions. In the party’s backrooms, dissidents accuse Kılıçdaroğlu of turning a blind eye to the demands of the party grassroots and giving way to efforts to ideologically transform and alter the CHP.