CHP to hold general convention amid COVID-19 measures

CHP to hold general convention amid COVID-19 measures

CHP to hold general convention amid COVID-19 measures

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will hold its 37th convention on July 25 and 26 in a bid to boost the party’s efforts to win the next elections and come to power after decades in opposition amid strict social distancing measures due to the pandemic.

The CHP had to postpone its convention slated for March 28-29 with the speedy spread of the coronavirus in Turkey in the first weeks of the pandemic. CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and the party brass decided to hold the convention next weekend as the government eased restrictions in line with the decreasing new cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Kılıçdaroğlu and the party leadership see the upcoming congress as the beginning of the main opposition’s march toward governance. The last time the CHP had ruled the country as a single-party government was the late 1970s. It was banned after the 1980 coup d’état and re-opened in 1992.

Due to the coronavirus, the party decided to hold the convention in an open-air facility in Ankara with a limited number of participants. No invitations were sent to the other political parties and civil society members as the convention will be held without guests.

Some 1,357 delegates will vote for the selection of the 60-member Party Assembly, while Kılıçdaroğlu will run for another term as chair of the main opposition party. He has been serving as the head of the main opposition party since 2010.

Former CHP MP Aytuğ Atıcı and the party’s honorary board member Tolga Yarman have announced their candidacy for leadership, but their chances appear to be slim against Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership. The real competition will be for the Party Assembly, as dissidents within the party are trying to win the majority by breaking Kılıçdaroğlu’s 60-member list.

These dissidents have long been criticizing Kılıçdaroğlu for pursuing a low-profile and weak opposition against the government and undermining the CHP’s fundamental republican values.