Main opposition gears up for two stormy conventions
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and his loyalists are hopeful that more than 800 of the 1,200 party delegates will show up at Feb 26 convention.The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is holding two separate conventions on Feb. 26 and 27 to amend its internal rules, as both the party leadership and dissident cliques flex muscles in a simmering power struggle.
Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and his loyalists have played down calls for a boycott by dissidents and are hopeful that more than 800 of the 1,200 party delegates will show up.
A number of foreign guests are expected to attend the Feb. 26 convention, which has been called by Kılıçdaroğlu, including members of social democratic parties from Italy, Greece and Sweden, as well as representatives of foreign embassies in Ankara, among them the United States, the European Union, Britain, Germany, Israel, Palestine, Iran, Egypt and Syria.
The CHP leadership’s long-discussed draft was made public ahead of the convention. The proposed amendments include holding primary elections for general election candidates and an open list for elections of party bodies. Still, the party leadership would still be able to assign 15 percent of all general election candidates.
Under the draft, the quota for women in party bodies would be increased from 25 to 33 percent and a 10-percent quota for youths would be also introduced. It also calls for an amendment that would authorize the chairman to merge convention calls to prevent the repetition of the current embarrassment of holding two conventions on the same issue, the second of which has been requested by the intra-party opposition.
Led by former secretary-general Önder Sav, the dissidents believe that the draft amendments have been drawn up “just for show” and will fail to improve intra-party democracy, sources told the Daily News.
The dissidents are also angry with the party administration for ignoring the Feb. 27 convention that they requested. They indicate that banners announcing the first gathering as a “grand democracy feast” have been hung across Ankara, while there is no announcement of the second one.