The future of the opposition movement in the CHP

The future of the opposition movement in the CHP

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has responded quickly and has done right in answering calls for an early party congress by setting the date as Sept. 5-6.

Since general elections will be held in June, it should be regarded as a good sign that the CHP will be able to finalize its domestic debates in one month and look ahead, even though the party is known to have a “slow reflex.”

What is important is that this process should be completed in such a way that the largest contribution to the party is achieved, a process when certain names who were invisible during the presidential election campaign have now started visiting provinces and when more than one potential leader candidate have emerged.

Kılıçdaroğlu leading for the moment

When we look at the current situation today, Muharrem İnce and Metin Feyzioğlu (and if not as much as them, also Emine Ülker Tarhan) are all familiar names to the public. If such names take responsibility and become candidates for the CHP chairmanship, it would be a contribution to the democratic competition and be correct and fair.

When the discourse and attitude of former chair Deniz Baykal is considered, in the event that the party opposition cannot unite under one name, then it should be kept in mind that he may come up and offer his services for a temporary period of time. Moreover, an argument such as “he was discarded with a tape conspiracy. His honor should be restored,” may also be brought up.

However, despite the truth in the “tape conspiracy,” the ethical view of the CHP congress members should be monitored carefully.   

The fact that the CHP has never been able to exceed the 30 percent barrier under Kılıçdaroğlu is an important argument for the opposition and the impression is that they will play this card.  There is truth in the “30 percent” argument of course, but it should also be considered that the congress delegates will also think of the influence of the inner party opposition against Kılıçdaroğlu in the results.

The strongest and the newest

While talking about delegates in the congress, here is the sum of the situation:

Especially in five big cities, Kılıçdaroğlu has a landslide majority. It is also predicted that almost all of the heads of the 81 provinces will stand behind him. The stance of the southeastern delegates which make up one-fifth of the congress can also be predicted.

Before such a picture, the best road for the opposition would be to abandon the fragmented structure immediately and gather around the strongest and the newest candidate.

If this is achieved and the impression that the integrity of the party will be protected, then this race will not harm but contribute to the CHP, especially if a very strong message is given for the CHP’s future policies.

Despite several criticisms, Kılıçdaroğlu’s policy to open up to nationalist and conservative segments has generally been accepted by the grassroots of the party. The wish is also strong for the party to continue these policies on the way to becoming the government. I am guessing that in this party congress, this is Kılıçdaroğlu’s most important advantage.

Believing that there is an erosion of morality in the country, Kılıçdaroğlu may invite certain conservative names to the CHP who are known for their integrity and honesty.

While names such as Mehmet Bekaroğlu come to the forefront, it is also a possibility to see Mansur Yavaş in the new set-up.

Because the youth constitute a significant portion to be considered, men like Mehmet Karlı who was popular during the Gezi demonstrations and women will have their chance.

Whatever the outcome, this time it looks as if change is inevitable in the CHP.

For this reason, some people will step aside, but this will not be an elimination. It will be the process of paying a personal price so that there will not be any cacophony.

There may be new additions to the left side of the showcase also, and in this group, names like the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) leader Alper Taş have a big chance.