İnce challenges CHP chair to step down from post
Muharrem İnce, the defeated presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has said he has urged CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to step down and instead become “honorary leader” of the party in a snap convention that would elect İnce as party leader.
“I proposed to him [Kılıçdaroğlu] that we hold an extraordinary convention. I told him he could become the honorary chairman and I could be the chair of the party,” İnce told reporters on July 3.
He said he made the offer during their first face-to-face meeting since the June 24 parliamentary and presidential elections, in which İnce received 30.6 percent of the vote and the CHP received 22 percent.
İnce’s ability to energize the party during campaigning has led many dissidents to push for long-awaited change in the CHP’s leadership before the March 2019 local election.
“I will not collect signatures [for the congress]. If Kılıçdaroğlu rejects my offer, the party organization will solve the problem itself,” İnce added, hinting that his grassroots support in the party could start collecting signatures for an extraordinary congress.
İnce had run against Kılıçdaroğlu in two previous conventions but failed to win them. In the most recent congress, he challenged Kılıçdaroğlu and received 476 votes from the 1,266 CHP delegates, while Kılıçdaroğlu received 790.
Party sources say İnce’s supporters are confident about gathering 634 signatures necessary to hold the extraordinary congress, while other CHP members suggest that İnce does not have such grassroots support.
No convention on the agenda: CHP
Kılıçdaroğlu responded to İnce’s comments, saying his revealing of the content of their meeting is an example of “political indecency.”
Following İnce’s challenge, CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan also said the main opposition “doesn’t have an extraordinary meeting on its agenda.”
The party has, however, summoned its Central Executive Board to convene on July 5.