CHP to Set Date for Convention in Coming Days

180720141040172865160_2The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will hold an extraordinary convention in the fall, upon calls from party dissidents following the recent presidential election defeat, CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has announced.

Speaking to reporters after visiting Iraqi Yazidi deputy Viyan Dakhil at an İstanbul hospital, Kılıçdaroğlu played down the post-election troubles facing the party, saying “They shouldn’t be concerned. I will convene a congress. I will decide on the date after consultations with my friends,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters late Aug. 14.

His statement came after a handful of CHP lawmakers demanded his withdrawal from the leadership and for a convention to elect a new leader. The dissidents say the selection of Ekmelettin İhsanoğlu – the former secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Conference – as the CHP’s joint presidential candidate with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), was strategically wrong. İhsanoğlu received 38 percent of votes in the election while Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won with nearly 52 percent of votes.

Kılıçdaroğlu said he would seize the initiative to call the congress himself, as the dissident lawmakers were not able to collect enough signatures to call delegates to an extraordinary convention themselves.

“We are the party that introduced democracy to this country. We are at the same time a party with different views, but everybody should also be aware that we should strictly be loyal to the party discipline,” he added.

CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Head Muharrem İnce was among the dissidents who called on Kılıçdaroğlu to hold the convention, hinting that he would run for the party chairmanship. İnce said he was pleased with the CHP leader’s call for a convention.

“I am very happy about it. Announcing a candidacy for the chairmanship is among the traditions of both our party and our democracy. The final decision belongs to the delegates,” he said.

İnce also hinted via his Twitter account that he would resign from his position as deputy parliamentary group leader. He is known to be supported by former CHP chairman Deniz Baykal, who has been pursuing a silent but determined opposition to Kılıçdaroğlu’s rule since being ousted as party leader himself in 2010.

Other dissident lawmakers have expressed their satisfaction with Kılıçdaroğlu’s decision to call a convention. “That was our expectation. We are satisfied with it,” Istanbul deputy Nur Serter told Anadolu Agency.

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