Ex-CHP leader to Kılıçdaroğlu: Run for presidency or step down

Ex-CHP leader to Kılıçdaroğlu: Run for presidency or step down

Ex-CHP leader to Kılıçdaroğlu: Run for presidency or step down Deniz Baykal, the former leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has called on party head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to either announce his candidacy for a 2019 presidential bid or to hold a general convention to determine a candidate.

“If the leader of the party declares his candidacy, naturally he will be the candidate. But if he says he will not be the candidate, then he should convene an extraordinary convention to tell [party members] to elect the leader of their choice to be the presidential candidate,” Baykal said in an interview on private broadcaster CNN Türk late on May 1.

Assessing the recent referendum results and the CHP’s future roadmap, he said the CHP should focus on the presidential election, which is expected to be held in 2019.

As the “no” camp won 49 percent of the votes in the referendum, Baykal said the party should aim to hold this 49 percent together.

“The party needs to challenge itself in some way. It could seize the 49 percent and enrich it,” he said, adding that the CHP’s aim in the presidential election should be to “build a constitutional order where no one can impose ‘one-man rule.’”

‘Party should determine the leader to be a candidate’

Baykal said the CHP should start preparing for 2019 by determining its presidential candidate, with the perspective of “embracing the 49 percent.”

“The first decision is the decision that the chairman [Kılıçdaroğlu] should make. If he says he is the candidate, the agenda to search for a candidate will be eliminated and the work to promote him will begin,” he added.

“If he decides not to be a candidate, then he should immediately call an extraordinary convention [to determine the candidate],” he said.

“I am not just saying he should step back, I’m also saying that the party congress should elect its leader to be the presidential candidate. But [Kılıçdaroğlu] has to convene the convention, there is no other way,” Baykal added.

Party congress at the end of the year

The CHP’s regular schedule for electing the party administration and leadership is set to be held at the end of 2017, and apart from Baykal’s call CHP officials have not hinted at any extraordinary congress. Kılıçdaroğlu has stated that the party will convene its provincial and metropolitan organizations to work according to the regular schedule to determine the date of the party congress.