CHP leaves doors open for political alliance ahead of local elections

Published 11.09.2018 21:58 Modified 11.09.2018 21:58

Officials from the Republican People's Party (CHP) have signaled that they may work with other parties in certain municipalities in the upcoming local elections.

"There is no consensus on an alliance at the moment. But I can't say if such a thing will happen in the future or not," CHP Vice Chairman Seyit Torun, who is responsible of local administrations, said, leaving the doors open for a possible alliance.

Recent news reports have also suggested that the party may have a likely plan for a political alliance, after comments from its incumbent Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. He pointed out the fact that an alliance of the political parties for the local elections would be very reasonable.

In a meeting with the CHP provincial heads, Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said that the CHP could team up with the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the Good Party (İP). Commenting on a possible formula for the alliance, Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said that it would need to be discussed and that it may differ from city to city.

He added that there could be joint candidates, a party could support the other's candidate, or members from another party may be given posts in the organization of a particular municipality. Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly added that the CHP would select candidates "who will be embraced by everyone."

He said that if a CHP candidate wins in a municipality where the HDP receives a lot of votes, a represented of the Kurdish population could become a deputy mayor. He added that a person from the İP could be the secretary general in that case. The topic of a possible alliance with the HDP was raised by former Istanbul deputy Dursun Çiçek on Sept. 1 in a televised interview.

Çiçek's remarks, however, were rebuffed by the party authorities. CHP spokesman Faik Öztrak announced that there will be no cooperation with any party in the upcoming elections.

But in the wake of a challenge from the People's Alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the CHP may have reconsidered its position. The party fears it may lose further votes in some of its strongholds, especially after poor results in the June 24 elections.

The CHP suffered a massive defeat in the June 24 parliamentary elections contrary to a hype created around it. The party received only 22.6 percent of votes - a lower level of support compared to the previous elections. Votes for the CHP in metropolitan cities and its traditional strongholds also decreased considerably, aggravating the defeat of the party.

The party is also struggling with intraparty unrest since the elections. The poor results sparked debates after some party members held Kılıçdaroğlu responsible for repeated failures in the election and demanded he steps down as chairman.

The CHP dissidents, under the leadership of Muharrem İnce, started the process of collecting signatures for an extraordinary convention on July 16 to challenge Kılıçdaroğlu's chairmanship. However, they could not collect enough signatures needed to convene.

Heated debates, however, have not quieted down despite the CHP administration's efforts to tame the dissidents.

Kılıçdaroğlu's oppositions within the CHP recently announced that they would collect signatures to call for a bylaw change if the party administration insisted on not holding an extraordinary convention. However, no concrete steps have been taken as of yet.

İnce, who was the CHP's presidential candidate in the June 24 elections, said on Sept. 10, "The convention debate has ended. We should look ahead."

In his speech, İnce reiterated his remarks made ahead of the bylaw convention meeting of the dissidents.

"The executive body and the chairman are considered as tenants while we are the hosts. The host will not demolish the house if the tenant damages it," he said, adding that the intraparty debates may be put on hold for the upcoming elections.

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