CHP to gather on Sept 5 for snap convention after election defeat

CHP to gather on Sept 5 for snap convention after election defeat

CHP to gather on Sept 5 for snap convention after election defeat

A group of disgruntled lawmakers has openly called on Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to resign after presidential elections. AA photo

The main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) leadership has decided to hold a snap extraordinary congress, in a move to prevent dissidents becoming organized in their challenge against CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

The convention will be held on Sept. 5 and 6 in Ankara, after calls from deputies from the party’s nationalist wing who have blamed Kılıçdaroğlu for the defeat in the presidential elections.

“We are going to put an end to the ongoing in-house discussion over the presidential elections on Sept. 5 and 6,” Deputy CHP Head and Spokesman Haluk Koç told reporters at a press conference following the CHP Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on Aug. 17. “The MYK has taken the decision to hold an extraordinary convention. We are now starting the legal process.”

Following the Aug. 10 election, a group of disgruntled lawmakers has 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 joint presidential candidate with the Nationalist Movement Party (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 this year.

Former CHP Chairman Deniz Baykal, who is orchestrating the moves of the dissidents, is believed to be pushing Yalova deputy Muharrem İnce, an outspoken and ambitious politician, for the leadership.

“A new executive team that has not made mistakes in the past should be appointed. A fresh management should be brought forward,” Baykal said over the weekend. However, it’s not yet sure whether İnce or Emine Ülker Tarhan will decide to run for the leadership, as Kılıçdaroğlu effectively controls the CHP’s delegates. 

Kılıçdaroğlu was elected as CHP chairman in 2010 to replace 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 a more liberal-democratic line, but his decision to import a number of right-wing politicians to demonstrate inclusivity has drawn reactions. Former MHP politician, Mansur Yavaş, was selected as his party’s candidate for the Ankara mayoral position but lost by a small margin, while Kılıçdaroğlu’s second attempt to select a conservative figure for the presidential election also failed to yield results.