Sarıgül’s Istanbul candidacy awaits ‘timing’ from CHP

Sarıgül’s Istanbul candidacy awaits ‘timing’ from CHP

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Sarıgül’s Istanbul candidacy awaits ‘timing’ from CHP

The latest unconfirmed scenario in Ankara lobbies is that Kılıçdaroğlu and Sarıgül will get together at the weekend and shake hands over his return to the main opposition party, before Sarıgül is announced as the CHP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate. DHA photo

Speculation is continuing as to when the decision expelling Mustafa Sarıgül from the main Republican People’s Party (CHP) will be revoked. The mercurial Sarıgül is strongly hinted as being the CHP’s mayoral candidate for Istanbul. 

The decision to expel him from the party was made during former chairman Deniz Baykal’s time in charge. There is now speculation over whether Sarıgül will be running for office and if so, when the announcement revoking his expulsion will be made. 

The latest unconfirmed scenario in Ankara lobbies is that Kılıçdaroğlu and Sarıgül will get together at the weekend and shake hands. According to the same scenario, after this meeting, Sarıgül’s expulsion decision will be revoked during the Party Assembly meeting to be held on Sunday. His candidacy may then be announced on Sept. 9, on the occasion of the party’s 90th anniversary. 

Names close to Sarıgül, however, are denying this scenario, and pointing to the following Party Assembly in November for the annulment of the expulsion decision and the announcement of Sarıgül’s mayoral candidacy. 

4 points between Sarıgül and Topbaş in polls

CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu has seen that in several surveys carried out in Istanbul since January 2013 the gap between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate and Sarıgül has narrowed considerably. Until a few weeks ago, surveys showed that the difference between Topbaş and Sarıgül was down to just 4 points. Contacts between Kılıçdaroğlu and Sarıgül have continued to this day through a former government minister, and the idea of Sarıgül’s candidacy for the position of Istanbul mayor has matured among the top administration of CHP. 

Kılıçdaroğlu has openly invited Sarıgül back to the CHP both through mediators and in the past few weeks in public. However, it is rumored that Sarıgül has been expecting his expulsion decision to be revoked without any application, and also that he wanted to return to the CHP together with many other names. 

It is also claimed that a message has been sent to Sarıgül to write a petition asking for a pardon, so that his comeback could be discussed during the Sept. 8 meeting of the party. Sarıgül was expelled from the party in March 2005 by its Disciplinary Committee. 

According to the CHP’s statute, discipline penalties are reviewed at the Party Assembly upon the proposal of the chairperson or the Central Executive Board. The difficulty is the presence of members in the 60-person Party Assembly who are against Sarıgül. 

In spite of the fact that the Sarıgül wing insists there would not be any problems at the voting, names close to Deniz Baykal and members acting together with deputy chair Gürsel Tekin, who is himself considering running for the same office, do not view Sarıgül’s return to the party or his candidacy positively. This critical balance in the party assembly and the resistance within the party is postponing the timing of the voting. Sarıgül does not want to experience a rejection after filing for a pardon and he is therefore pushing for a revocation through a proposal from the top of the party. 

It has not yet been confirmed whether there will be voting on Sept. 8. A name close to Sarıgül told the Hürriyet Daily News that the voting at the party assembly may be held in October and the announcement of the candidacy may be in November. 

“Filing a petition with the party assembly is a formality, it is a technicality. However, I do not expect a vote this Sunday [Sept. 8]. It is also out of the question that Sarıgül and Kılıçdaroğlu will meet this weekend. This meeting could take place later. The possibility is high that the voting will take place at the next party assembly session. There are no problems foreseen, but the issue is timing,” the source said. Sarıgül appeared warm toward the idea of running for the Istanbul mayor’s seat. “I will be in the place where citizens want me to be. We will create this option soon,” he said.