Main opposition CHP struggling with naming candidates for local elections

Main opposition CHP struggling with naming candidates for local elections

Main opposition CHP struggling with naming candidates for local elections

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (C) leaves Parliament with deputy Muharrem İnce (R) and Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Akif Hamzaçebi. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is experiencing difficulty in determining candidates for the upcoming local elections, with the search still ongoing for candidates able to scoop support from center-right voters in provinces such as Ankara, Adana and Hatay.

Although the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has already presented 47 of its provincial mayoral candidates, including Istanbul and Ankara, for the March 2014 local elections, the CHP is still yet to announce its candidates for major cities.

The CHP determined 16 provincial candidates at its latest party assembly meeting on Nov. 3, but the majority of its candidates, including for major cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, remain unclear. Another party assembly meeting will be held next week, at which more candidates are expected to be determined.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has repeatedly stressed that the party will nominate candidates who stand the chance of receiving the highest number of votes in the March elections. The CHP is currently holding primary elections in some places and conducting surveys to determine the most appropriate candidate in order to gain most votes.

Despite CHP Deputy Chair Gürsel Tekin’s announcement of his nomination for the party’s Istanbul candidacy, Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül – who is considered the only figure who could possibly rival AKP candidate Kadir Topbaş - is expected to be declared as the CHP’s candidate in Turkey’s largest city after next week’s meeting.

For the Ankara Metropolitan Mayor’s office, there are four names being discussed in party corridors.

Cengiz Topel Yıldırım, the former chairman of the Ankaragücü sports club, and CHP Deputy Parliamentary Chair Muharrem İnce are heavily tipped as possible candidates. The center-right True Path Party (DYP)-rooted İlhan Kesici and CHP Ankara deputy Aylin Nazlıaka, who became popular during the Gezi Park protests over the summer, are also among the names said to be under consideration for the Ankara mayoral post.

The CHP administration is also considering nationalist-leaning names in the southern cities of Adana and Hatay, despite objections from the party’s local offices. It’s being claimed that Kılıçdaroğlu is aiming to nominate former Adana Mayor Aytaç Durak as the CHP’s Adana mayoral candidate. Durak was elected for the AKP in 2004 and for Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in 2009, but was dismissed from office on corruption charges. It is also rumored that Kılıçdaroğlu intends to nominate former MHP member Mete Aslan in the southern city of Hatay.