A recent survey suggests that Muharrem İnce, the Republican People's Party (CHP) former presidential candidate, is its most popular candidate to run for the Istanbul mayor's office next March.
The survey, conducted by Motto Research and Verity Research, found that a majority of CHP members preferred İnce to be their Istanbul mayor candidate. He was followed by CHP Deputy Chairman Aykut Erdoğdu and CHP's Istanbul deputy Gürsel Tekin.
Some 1,262 CHP members were interviewed via telephone for the survey. They were separated based on districts and member quotas.
İnce's name as a likely mayoral candidate has been circulating in the media for some time now. Yet, İnce has maintained that he would run in the next presidential elections as the next CHP chairman.
However, İnce last week said that he would only run for the mayor's office if he was picked by party members through a "primary election."
Meanwhile, apart from struggling to find the proper candidate for Istanbul, the CHP has ramped up its preparations for the upcoming elections. The party is getting ready for some fieldwork to assess public opinion. Around 200 party members, including members of the party assembly and deputies, will tour 44 provinces to find out the right candidate for particular provinces and districts.
Following the poor results in the June 24 elections, the CHP has faced an intra-party turmoil, sparked by the gap between the votes cast for İnce and the CHP itself. He lost the presidential race but was 8 percentage points ahead of the party.
The CHP has suffered nine successive election defeats under the leadership of current chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who has led the party since 2011.
Some party members and supporters called on Kılıçdaroğlu to step down as they held him responsible for the repeated failures. The dissidents called for a change in the party leadership and started a petition on July 16 to convene an extraordinary convention.
However, they failed to reach the necessary quorum and faced harsh resistance from the party's head office. Some of them faced the party disciplinary board. With the election approaching, the dissidents have not taken any steps for a new convention since.
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