The Republican People's Party (CHP) accepted new bylaws at its two-day-long 19th extraordinary convention in Ankara, rejecting proposals that envisage distinctions in party membership and of the chairman's resignation in case of consecutive defeats.
CHP delegates rejected the article in the bylaw draft that distinguishes party members as "full member," who regularly pays membership fee, and "supporting member," who does not pay a membership fee but supports the party. Reportedly, the definition of "supporting member" has been removed from the bylaw.
In the convention, a proposal that suggests the chairman should resign if successively losing elections was also rejected. The proposal was brought to the agenda by Muharrem İnce, who was a candidate for party chairman in the CHP's 36th Ordinary Congress, and was presented with the signatures of a group of deputies.
İnce ran against CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at the ordinary convention; however, he lost the race, as 790 delegates voted for Kılıçdaroğlu, and İnce received 447 votes, with 1,253 delegates out of 1,266 casting votes.
It was accepted in the bylaw convention to reduce the required number of signatures to be collected from delegates to become a candidate for chairman. Now, candidates need to collect signatures from 5 percent of the delegates, the previous requirement was 10 percent. In the previous convention held on Feb. 3-4, the signatures of 127 delegates were needed to become a candidate; however with the new regulation, this number decreased to 64.
As there has been a growing intra-party opposition in the CHP, Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu voiced criticism toward opposing circles. Speaking at the opening of the bylaws convention, he said: "Those who say 'Is my seat in Parliament guaranteed' do not have the right to be a man of the cause. Those who are men of the cause do not hold positions. You do not have a place in this party," adding, "Those who pursue their own interests do not have a place in the party either."
Reportedly, the discussion for determining members for Parliament prompted debates as some deputies proposed candidates should be determined by the pre-election. According to the current bylaw, 85 percent of the candidates are determined by pre-elections, while the rest are determined by the chairman. During the convention, a group of delegates proposed reducing the chairman's quota to 5 percent. However, it was rejected and the related article in the draft was accepted.
According to the new bylaw, the CHP's presidential candidate might be determined by means of electorate inquiry, pre-election or candidate inquiry.
Additionally, the newly accepted bylaw increased the quota for the young to 20 percent from 10 percent. The upper limit for membership in the youth branch remained at 30.