Muharrem İnce, the last presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the leading dissident figure within the party, has reiterated once again that he wants to become both the chairman of the CHP and its presidential candidate.
This has deepened the divisive gap between him and the incumbent Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu despite fading dissenting voices within the party amid the upcoming local elections.
Speaking on Turkey's Habertürk news channel on Wednesday, İnce said that he does not want to be nominated as the party's candidate for Istanbul Municipality in the March 2019 local elections.
"I want to become the presidential candidate as the chairman [of the CHP]," İnce said putting an end to rumors about his candidacy for Istanbul Municipality.
Pointing out that there are several people from the party who want to become a candidate for Istanbul, İnce advised that the candidate should be determined in a vote among 200,000 members.
Commenting on the recent self-criticism by Kılıçdaroğlu, in which he took the blame for the defeat in the June 24 elections, İnce stated, "I am astounded. I do not think these statements targeted me. I was only a candidate and I completed my task. Managing the [election] night was the job of the party administration."
On Tuesday, Kılıçdaroğlu criticized his party for the first time about the mistakes made in the June 24 elections.
"If only we could give a good account of ourselves on June 24, this resentment would not have occurred. If there was a flaw, that flaw was ours," he said.
Meanwhile, İnce had a report prepared by Filiz Aydın Koç, an election and statistics specialist in addition to the party administration's report.
According to the report, İnce attracted an average 36 percent more votes than the CHP in 30 metropolis cities. The report projected that if the CHP is able to keep the votes acquired by İnce, the party may increase their municipalities from six to nine. However, if the party remains within the range of its own votes, the CHP will lose two municipalities.
The CHP witnessed a massive defeat in the June 24 elections contrary to the hype that was circulating at the time. The party acquired 22.6 percent of the votes, a lower level of support compared to the previous elections. The party also suffered nine election defeats under Kılıçdaroğlu, who has led the CHP since 2011.