The administration of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has reportedly been avoiding calls for primary elections to determine candidates for upcoming local elections despite increasing demands, claiming that asking party members to determine candidates would not yield correct results.
As applications for candidacy in local elections for the CHP started on Oct. 1, debates about primary elections continue in province and district organizations. While party members that ask for primary elections in major cities attempt to convey their demands regarding the issue and collect signatures, CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly stresses that the construction of the party membership is not suitable for using this method, adding that determining candidates just by asking party members would not produce healthy results.
The CHP, which is expected to determine a restrictive number of candidates via primary elections, will mainly focus on determining candidates for major cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir. In these cities, the CHP is expected to hold surveys and consider the opinion of headquarters as well. The CHP is expected to hold primary elections only in municipalities that are considered as strongholds of the party.
Muharrem İnce, a dissident against Kılıçdaroğlu and the party's presidential candidate in the June 24 elections has also been asking for primary elections to determine candidates in local elections. Previously, it was reported in Turkish media that İnce stipulated a "democratic primary election" as a condition to run for Istanbul where the CHP has long failed to win in the municipal 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 has also been struggling with intraparty unrest since the elections. Poor results sparked debates after some party members held Kılıçdaroğlu responsible for repeated failures in elections and demanded he step down as chairman.
Meanwhile, as the application process for candidacy in local elections continues, nearly 200 candidates are to be determined by the party administration and the names will be announced following the end of the applications. Candidates that are already mayors and would continue in the post will be announced first, while candidates for Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir will be announced later. The application process ends on Oct. 19.