Dissidents in main opposition party mull court action to block convention

Dissidents in main opposition party mull court action to block convention

Hüseyin Hayatsever - ANKARA
Dissidents within the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) are considering whether to apply to court in a bid to block the party’s Feb. 26 convention, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

In the latest maneuver in the intra-party power struggle, the CHP leadership yesterday scheduled a second convention for March 1 to discuss amendments to the party statute demanded by the dissidents. The unprecedented move would see the party hold two conventions five days apart.

The dissidents, however, remain unconvinced. They argued that Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s decision to override their convention call and schedule first a congress with his own agenda was a breach of both the party statute and the political parties law.

“The Feb. 26 congress cannot take place. The fact that Kılıçdaroğlu scheduled it after our own call is abuse of power,” a CHP dissident told the HDN on the condition of anonymity. “We are assessing the issue with our lawyers. It is obvious that the convention will be canceled if we go to court.”

The dissidents were the first to call an extraordinary convention on Jan. 18, with 362 of the 1,250 party delegates backing the move. They have listed a series of demands aimed at curbing Kılıçdaroğlu’s powers and easing the rules for forcing a chairmanship election.

Under pressure to hold the convention within 45 days, Kılıçdaroğlu opted for a counter-maneuver: He called an extraordinary convention Feb. 26 to amend the party statute under an agenda he personally drew up, leaving the dissidents’ gathering for March 1. The question of who calls the convention is critical as it allows the callers to determine the agenda of the gathering.

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