CHP’s İnce says he wants primary elections to select Istanbul mayoral candidate
Rifat Başaran - ANKARA
Muharrem İnce, the defeated presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), suggested holding primary elections to select the best candidate for Istanbul’s mayoral seat in a meeting with party chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Nov. 22.
“Muharrem İnce is not after a position. My concern is Turkey. I want my party to be successful in these elections. I will run for Istanbul only if I get selected in primary elections with the participation of 259,000 CHP members. I will never stand as a candidate without primary elections,” İnce told reporters after a meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu at the party’s headquarters in Ankara.
İnce’s meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu came as the CHP is in talks with other opposition parties over a potential alliance for the upcoming local elections slated for March 31, 2019.
İnce, who had received 30.6 percent of the votes in the presidential elections, has been named among prominent CHP figures that could stand as a candidate to run for mayor of the country’s largest province. But he stressed he’d only present his name on condition that primary elections are held.
“We still would have time [for campaigning] if we hold primary elections in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Mersin and Adana,” İnce said, stressing the need to choose the best candidate that would receive support from all CHP organizations.
Kılıçdaroğlu, however, refrained from giving a clear answer to the proposal, İnce said. “He told me he will contact the provincial organizations of the party.”
Relations between the two had strained further after İnce openly challenged Kılıçdaroğlu’s leadership in the wake of this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, saying the votes he garnered in the presidential race was much higher than that of the party’s. İnce and his supporters later had initiated an extraordinary convention to topple Kılıçdaroğlu, but failed to garner sufficient support from CHP delegates, who are chosen by Kılıçdaroğlu himself.
“I have expressed my views and concerns over the impending local elections. I told him that I stand ready for my party in the polls. I explained that we will work together and with all our powers for success in the elections,” he stated.