CHP’s İnce vows to pursue presidency despite defeat in June 24 vote
Muharrem İnce, the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) presidential candidate, has vowed to purse the presidency, despite losing to President Receyp Tayyip Erdoğan in the June 24 elections.
“I want the presidency seat. It is the president that rules the country, not the prime ministry. The reason for a political party to exist is its desire to rule the country. A leader of a political party naturally should be the presidential candidate,” İnce said in a televised interview with private broadcaster HaberTürk late July 12.
After losing the elections again to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which collected 49 percent of the votes in the June parliamentary and presidential elections, the CHP has been facing problems within the party over its leadership. Calls for current leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to resign have been mounting, with many favoring İnce to lead the party.
Despite CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan repeatedly denying there was the extraordinary congress on the party’s agenda, CHP sources said dissidents within the party have started collecting signatures for a congress in support of İnce’s leadership.
“I am not saying that I will be a candidate. If they [grassroots] will tell me to lead the march, I am ready. I will not collect signatures. The grassroots will collect, I see that,” İnce said.
“If I were a delegate, I would sign for change,” he said.
The party’s own law says in order to change the leadership through an extraordinary congress the signatures of a simple majority of all delegates are required. The CHP has around 1,200 delegates, requiring İnce to gather at least 600 votes.
İnce previously challenged Kılıçdaroğlu twice for party leadership. In the last congress he held in February this year he had received 447 votes, while Kılıçdaroğlu received 790.
After watching him run a dynamic election campaign, İnce’s supporters now hope he fights for the leadership of the CHP.
Criticizing the current CHP administration, İnce said the party needs a “change in its internal laws, organization and program.”
“CHP’s internal law is its constitution. It is the same as Turkey’s constitution. Both have collected the authorities in one hand. What we need to do is to make a change in its by-law, to make it democratic,” he said.
“Unless the internal laws and programs change, the CHP will have no say in Turkey’s democracy,” he added.