Main opposition CHP leader promises to step down if votes shrink
Fatih Çekirge ANKARAKemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has said in an interview with Hürriyet that he will quit his seat if the party loses votes in next year’s parliamentary elections.
“A leader who loses significant amount of votes should go. Certainly, the goal is winning, and I would leave if I experience a significant fall in votes, he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also claimed that his leadership had achieved a considerable improvement in the CHP’s fortunes since taking over in 2010.
His latest remarks come at a time when the party is preparing for an extraordinary convention following defeat in the presidential elections on Aug. 10. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won that race against Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the CHP’s joint candidate with the Nationalist Movement Party, and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
Speaking to Hürriyet, Kılıçdaroğlu also said he was ready to include an item in the CHP’s official code that would oblige a leader to quit in the event that the party failed to top its previous electoral performance. This introduction is what Muharrem İnce, his rival at the Sept. 5-6 congress, is promising.
The CHP head also expressed anger at polling companies that had repeatedly forecast that Erdoğan would net 55 to 60 percent of the votes in the presidential election, in which at least 50 percent was required to win outright in the first round.
“Seeing the forecasts, citizens thought their votes would not make a change and avoided going to the ballots. This mistake cannot be covered by an apology,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Erdoğan gained nearly 52 percent of the votes in the Aug. 10 vote.