The CHP leader has created his own one-man-rule, threatening that any critical voice within the party will be 'be kicked out'
Before the April 16 referendum on the constitutional changes, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu frequently accused President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of trying to create "one-man rule" in Turkey and eventually hoping to become a dictator.
After the referendum, however, we started to see that in fact Kılıçdaroğlu has already created his own one-man rule within the CHP and is silencing whoever tries to challenge him.
It was inevitable that once the nation approved the constitutional changes the leadership of Kılıçdaroğlu at the CHP would be challenged. He had vehemently opposed the changes that are now ushering Turkey into a presidential system of government and failed. He want to cover up his failure by claiming foul play in the referendum and challenging the results in court. However, the Supreme Elections Board (YSK) turned down his appeals and declared the referendum valid. Kılıçdaroğlu continued his attacks by insulting Supreme Court judges and saying he regards the referendum null and void.
Yet, all his efforts to divert attention toward the referendum and avoid the challenges to his leadership have started to fail. Leading personalities in the CHP have started to question his leadership and ability to run the party. That is inevitable. There is no party in the democratic world where the opposition leader has lost two referendums, three local elections and four parliamentary elections, consistently failing to bring his party to power, and still remains in his or her seat.
It all started soon after the referendum when former party chairman Deniz Baykal said that now the referendum is over and the presidential system is official, Kılıçdaroğlu has to decide whether he will become the party's presidential candidate for 2019 or whether he will move aside and let a candidate emerge who will lead the party in the elections.
That was followed by another popular veteran CHP official, Fikri Sağlar, who said the party is being run by a system of one-man rule and that the leader is being misguided by his aides and is not allowing proper debate in the party's executive branch. Kılıçdaroğlu's response was to have Fikri Sağlar sent to the disciplinary committee with a demand that he be kicked out of the party. So much for freedom of speech and expression within the CHP.
Meanwhile, another party maverick Muharrem İnce also started a campaign against Kılıçdaroğlu when party spokesman and deputy chairman for economic affairs and Istanbul deputy Selin Sayek Böke resigned from her party posts, saying the party leadership did not take the steps that were necessary after the referendum and that democratic processes within the party are nonexistent. She said after the referendum that the party moved in the direction of accepting the results of the referendum, rather than rejecting them and walking out of Parliament. There were rumors that before she announced her decision, Böke "consulted" American embassy officials.
So the CHP is in disarray. The party made the mistake of thinking the 48.6 percent that comprised the "no" vote in the referendum had boosted its popularity. It forgot that its votes are only about 25 percent and the rest are votes for other political groups that do not want to join or support the CHP.
Now Kılıçdaroğlu is in a defiant mood saying he will not allow dissent and whoever tries to pick a fight within the CHP "will be kicked out." Of course, his performance is bad for the social democratic movement in Turkey and a gift for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) as it gives them a freer hand to run the country with such a small and incapable opposition. But it is also bad because you need a vibrant and energetic opposition to keep you on your toes.
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