Turkey's opposition re-elects party leader -UPDATED

The Republican People's Party (CHP) delegates are to vote for a new chairman in wake of a string of electoral defeats. Party leader denies claims that the party is shifting towards the right

Turkey's opposition re-elects party leader -UPDATED

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has re-elected its leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu against rival Muharrem Ince in the party's extraordinary congress in Ankara on Friday.

Kilicdaroglu took 740 votes against Ince's 415 votes.

Kilicdaroglu, who agreed to hold the congress after he was challenged by several of the party's lawmakers following a disappointing result in the presidential elections in August when the opposition joint candidate Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, denied claims that he is leading the party to the right.

The Republican People's Party (CHP) gathered in Ankara's Ticaret Odasi Congresium Hall to vote to elect a party chairman after a string of defeats against Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

"Respecting any identity or belief does not mean shifting to the right," Kilicdaroglu told delegates.

Kilicdaroglu added that he loves everyone without making any discrimination between right and left. 

Expressing the importance of democracy and freedom, Kilicdaroglu said that he defends the rights and interests of public. 

Meanwhile, the other candidate Muharrem Ince had criticized Kilicdaroglu’s decision to field a joint presidential candidate with the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party.

Speaking at the congress, Ince said "When I first heard the name 'Ihsanoglu', I saw 100% failure against Erdogan."

Former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as 12th president of Turkey in first presidential poll decided by popular vote.

Adding that he does not have any individual problem with Kilicdaroglu, Ince criticized his policy, saying "Kilicdaroglu presented Erdogan with the presidency."

Ince announced in August that he would challenge Kilicdaroglu to lead the party, which was founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923.

REBELLION

On August 10, people went to the polls to elect Turkey’s president for the first time. Erdogan won the election receiving 51.79 percent of the vote, while his rivals Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu received 38.44 percent and Selahattin Demirtas won 9.76 percent.

Many in the center-left party disagreed with Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s decision to field a joint presidential candidate with the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party.

This led to open rebellion following the election when a group of CHP lawmakers called on Kilicdaroglu to step down.

Still, Kilicdaroglu, 65 -- who has headed the party since 2010, when the former leader, Deniz Baykal, resigned due to a video revealing his affair with a female CHP deputy -- is seen as the strongest candidate.

Kilicdaroglu was elected as Istanbul MP in 2002 and as the chairman at the 33rd Ordinary General Assembly of the party held May 22, 2010.

Ince was elected as a lawmaker by his hometown of Yalova in northwest Turkey in 2002. Ince said he would return the party to power. The CHP, he said, will be the "party of hope."

However, Kilicdaroglu’s chances appear strong: 78 out of 81 provincial party chairmen have declared their support for him, as have the party’s overseas branches.

A total of 1,218 delegates are to vote at 24 ballot boxes during the congress.

To be elected as party chairman, a candidate must win an absolute majority from 1,218 delegates' votes.
More than 900 journalists will follow the congress.

Non-governmental organizations, trade associations and other political parties have also been invited to the congress. At least 46 diplomatic representatives are planning to attend the congress.

At the congress, small changes in the party bylaws will be made.

The delegates will also vote to elect the 60 members of the party's assembly, the supreme body that decides on policy and strategy concerning internal and external developments in line with congress verdicts and election notifications.

To date, the party has held 34 ordinary and 17 extraordinary congresses.

Last Mod: 05 Eylül 2014, 17:29
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