Who will take what seat at the CHP?

Who will take what seat at the CHP?

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Who will take what seat at the CHP

Discussions about who will take which seat are ongoing within the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The inner conflicts are ongoing within the Republican People’s Party (CHP). The discussions regarding who would take which seat have already begun although there is still about a year until the first election. With the local elections that will be held in March, 2014, the CHP will determine its candidates for the presidential elections in August. There are thousands of candidates for hundreds of seats including metropolitan, provincial, and district municipalities.

The first election is on the Parliamentary agenda this month. It is being said that the Deputy Parliament Speaker Güldal Mumcu might not go on. Erdal Aksünger, Mehmet Kesimoğlu and Oktay Ekşi are other suggested names for this seat. It is expected that deputy group chairs Akif Hamzaçebi and Muharrem İnce would be elected. Also, according to speculations, Emine Ülker Tarhan would not be a candidate.

Engin Altay, Özgür Özel and Hurşit Güneş will probably compete for her position, instead.
Local elections are of vital importance for the CHP. The party does not want to lose its current municipalities including İzmir, Eskişehir, Antalya, Mersin, Çanakkale, Tekirdağ, Artvin, Zonguldak provinces; Çankaya and Yenimahalle districts in Ankara, Kadıköy, Beşiktaş, Bakırköy, and Sarıyer districts in Istanbul, which are symbolically important for the CHP.

So, who will take which seat in the CHP after local elections? Two figures come into prominence in Istanbul: Deputy Chairman Gürsel Tekin and Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül, who is not yet a member of the CHP. Who will Kılıçdaroğlu prefer?

In February 2013, I wrote about the first contacts between Kılıçdaroğlu and Sarıgül in this column. According to a survey the CHP leader has, there is a four percent gap between Sarıgül and Kadir Topbaş form the Justice and Development Party (AKP). In previous local elections in 2009, Kılıçdaroğlu received 37 percent of votes, while Topbaş received 44 percent. It seems that the narrowing gap created a sort of excitement within the CHP.

In the elections, each point will have vital importance for the CHP. Kılıçdaroğlu is aware of the fact that his chairmanship will be questioned in case of a possible failure in elections, so he is working hard to create a strong alternative against Istanbul’s mayor candidate from the AKP. Meanwhile, Sarıgül’s group wants to determine some district mayors. It is being whispered that they are about to overcome the problems. However, there is a group strictly against Sarıgül in the party, who lobbies for Gürsel Tekin. It is estimated that Sarıgül will take precedence over Tekin, unless a disagreement occurs at the last moment.

CHP Konak district’s mayor Hakan Tartan is also a candidate for İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor’s Office; however it is expected that Kılıçdaroğlu would continue with Aziz Kocaoğlu. Yılmaz Büyükerşen will continue his duty in Eskişehir. In Antalya, Mustafa Apaydın and Muratpaşa Mayor Süleyman Evcilmen are competing. For Mersin, two former culture ministers, Fikri Sağlar and İstemihan Talay, are willing to take over the mayor’s seat. However, it is being said that Kılıçdaroğlu will favor current mayor Macit Özcan in the province.

The problem of candidateship is ongoing within the CHP for Ankara Metropolitan Municipality. The CHP, which could not offer an alternative to Melih Gökçek for a long time, has difficulties in finding an efficient candidate for Ankara. The names suggested for Ankara include former deputy chair Gökhan Günaydın, Ankara deputy Levent Gök and former state minister Mustafa Yılmaz. It is also being whispered that Kılıçdaroğlu is in search of an influential name who can also address central right-wingers. There are many nominated candidates in the CHP, which sees Çankaya municipality as a guarantee. If a last-minute change is not made, it is said that current mayor Bülent Tanık will have a very low chance.

BDP talks of presıdentıal system reproach

During a conversation with a group of journalists, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Istanbul Deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder conveyed Öcalan’s words on the presidential system.

According to Önder, Öcalan said “Presidency can be mentioned if democratization is achieved, but we should not add the burden of presidency to the burden of Kemalism.” BDP co-chairs Demirtaş and Kışanak, who are currently silent due to the peace process, have begun to use harsher tones against the government and the new presidential system. Evidently, the Kurds are unpleased since the AKP has not yet taken the expected steps for the legal reforms on democratization. If the AKP does not meet the expectations, the BDP tends to potentiate its reproach in the following days.

Some say in the corridors that a possible İmralı visit of the BDP would intensify the harshness of this tone even more.

Cabinet to undergo change

It is being whispered in the Parliament’s corridors that the Prime Minister Erdoğan would make a cabinet change during June. This speculation is based on the suggestion that “some ministers having three-term bans within the AKP will nominate from major provinces in local elections.” For example, it is whispered that Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım, who is in the cabinet since 2002, will be nominated from Istanbul. The AKP’s expectations are high, but the speculations suggesting that Erdoğan would not make changes to the cabinet before the fall currently predominate.