Old faces on CHP board despite vow of change

Old faces on CHP board despite vow of change

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Old faces on CHP board despite vow of change

Murat Karayalçın (C), a former Ankara mayor and foreign minister, was also elected to the party assembly. AA photo

As a key congress of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) closed late July 18, a balanced party assembly was elected, which consisted primarily of experienced party seniors, including Adnan Keskin, Haluk Koç and Murat Karayalçın. 

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu chose his A-team bearing in mind the upcoming local and presidential elections, which could be seen as a pragmatic move rather than part of a long-term policy of transformation for the party.

CHP delegates elected the party’s 60-seat top board, which will lead the party for a two-year period and prepare the party for local and presidential elections, both slated for 2014. The CHP enjoyed intra-party democracy at its 34th ordinary congress, as any CHP member was able to stand as a candidate for party assembly membership thanks to the “open list” method. Previously, such elections within the CHP were done by a “bloc list” method, in which the chairman created a list of names from which delegates then voted.

There was a battle of “key lists” in the congress hall, after Kılıçdaroğlu revealed a 98-name key list on the second day of the congress. Another 52-name list was revealed later, titled the “Democracy and Change List,” and numerous versions of the list were circulated with minor changes.

The “Democracy and Change List” was elected to the party assembly with a number of exceptions. Çetin Soysal, Fikri Sağlar, İlhan Cihaner, Ercan Karakaş, Durdu Özbolat and Tekin Bingöl were elected by CHP delegates although they did not appear on Kılıçdaroğlu’s “narrow list.”

Adnan Keskin, Denizli deputy and former secretary-general of the party, gained the most votes. Keskin is widely expected to be appointed by Kılıçdaroğlu as the deputy chairman responsible for overseeing local party organizations, which is considered the number-two post in the CHP. Keskin is a popular and esteemed figure among the CHP’s grassroots, because he fought for intra-party democracy against former chairman Deniz Baykal. Some, however, consider Nihat Matkap, who currently holds the number-two post, a strong candidate to retain it.

Keskin was followed by Haluk Koç, who previously ran as a candidate for chairmanship against Deniz Baykal. Koç is expected to be the CHP’s new party speaker.

Murat Karayalçın, a former Ankara mayor and foreign minister, was also elected to the party assembly. Karayalçın is known for his experience with local administrations.

Social democrat figures Fikri Sağlar, Ercan Karakaş, Burhan Şenatalar, as well as familiar names from the center-right of Turkish politics, including Bülent Kuşoğlu and Aytun Çıray, also gained enough votes to be elected to the CHP’s party assembly.

There was confusion after some candidates challenged the results revealed by the CHP’s congress board after the party assembly elections. The Supreme Election Board (YSK) re-examined the results and confirmed there were some mistakes. The order of the placement on the list is subject to change. Final results will be revealed after a 48-hour re-counting period.