Turkey's main opposition CHP completes primaries, hopeful for June polls

Turkey's main opposition CHP completes primaries, hopeful for June polls

Turkeys main opposition CHP completes primaries, hopeful for June polls

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Hundreds of thousands of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) members flocked to the polling stations on March 29 to vote to elect their candidates for the June 7 parliamentary elections, making the the sole party in putting primaries in place. 

CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was among thousands of candidates for nomination who sought the backing of party members in order to be registered to run in the June parliamentary elections from İzmir, Turkey’s third largest city.  

“We are introducing a new understanding. We have accomplished primaries in 55 constituencies (out of 81) and around one million members [of the CHP] are casting their votes. We are doing this to reintroduce the practice and to strengthen democracy,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters after voting in the primaries. 

“No other party except for the CHP is doing this. Why we are doing this? Because, we believe in democracy,” he added, also calling on those who fail to get nominated as a parliamentary candidate to continue working for the CHP in the coming months and throughout the election campaign. 

“I call on my people: The only party that believes in democracy is the CHP. That’s why I call on people: Do you want democracy in this country? The party you should vote for is obvious,” Kılıçdaroğlu added. 

CHP heavyweights take part in elections 

Another senior figure running in the primaries is former CHP head Deniz Baykal, who is currently a deputy from Antalya.  Önder Sav, a former secretary-general of the party who lost his seat after a disagreement with Kılıçdaroğlu, was also among contenders of the primaries. 

“Whatever the results, I will continue to be in the service of the CHP,” Sav said. 

Hakkı Süha Okay, a former CHP deputy parliamentary group leader who parted ways with Kılıçdaroğlu, also ran in the March 29 primaries. 

“Today, Turkey is at a junction. There is a struggle for the regime. Under these circumstances, everybody’s duty is to make Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu the prime minister,” Okay said. 

Mustafa Sarıgül, an ambitious populist figure who was the CHP’s mayoral candidate for Istanbul in last year’s local election, was also among those who running in the primaries. 

The results of the internal elections were expected to be announced late on March 29, after the Hürriyet Daily News went to print. 

All parties must submit their list of candidates by the April 7 deadline.