Turkey, Politics

Turkey: CHP dissidents submit signatures for congress

630 party delegates signed for extraordinary convention to oust current leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu

Turkey: CHP dissidents submit signatures for congress

By Ozcan Yildirim, Baris Gundogan


Turkey’s main opposition party on Thursday said a total of 630 delegates has signed for holding of the party’s congress in a bid to replace current party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Speaking to reporters, Gaye Usluer, a lawmaker of the Republican People's Party (CHP), said that notarized copies of the signatures were submitted to the party leadership.

"We want CHP to show political and ideological consistency. We want a new understanding of governance to take effect, and we desire that a cadre movement should start in the Republican People's Party," Usluer said.

The party began collecting signatures for the emergency congress on July 16 and concluded on Monday.

According to party bylaws, 50 percent plus 1 signatures from party representatives must be collected for the emergency congress to take place.

The CHP has a total of 1,240 delegates, according to Usluer.

However, according to deputy head of the party Muharrem Erkek, the first examinations show that the party dissidents could not reach the required signatures for the extraordinary congress.

"But examinations remain ongoing," Erkek said.

The CHP's Change and Hope Congress, which would be held only if collected signatures meet the party's required threshold, is expected to discuss the replacement of Kilicdaroglu by none other than the party’s former presidential candidate, Muharrem Ince.

- Ince vs Kilicdaroglu

Although Ince received only 30.64 percent votes -- over 20 points less than President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- in the June 24 elections, his ability to get 4 million votes had spurred calls for a change in the party, with some demanding an emergency congress.

Just one day after the election, Ince hinted he was ready to lead the party, which had made its best electoral showing in decades in the recent polls.

However, the call for an emergency congress to replace the current CHP leader is causing turmoil within the main opposition, especially with looming local elections that are expected in eight months.

Kilicdaroglu would be bound to summon a congress within the next 45 days if the petition gathers enough signatures.

This will be Ince’s third attempt to overthrow Kilicdaroglu.

In 2014, Ince challenged Kilicdaroglu at the 18th extraordinary congress, following a disappointing result in the presidential election; 177 party members had backed his move. Ince, however, lost that bid, 740 to 415.

In February, Kilicdaroglu once again beat Ince with 790 votes to 447 after he called for a Justice and Courage congress.

Ince was elected as a lawmaker by his hometown of Yalova in northwest Turkey in 2002.

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