The nomination for İzmir's mayoral candidate from the Republican People's Party (CHP) for the upcoming March local elections has turned into a complex situation, with no name having emerged yet and just three months left for the ballot box.
After six party caucus meetings and no results in determining a candidate for İzmir, the party will now take the opinions of party organizations and the city itself into consideration. According to media reports, CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu favors Izmir's Seferihisar district Mayor Tunç Soyer for the metropolitan municipality, while CHP deputy Chairman Tuncay Özkan is insistent on being selected as the candidate.
On Thursday, the CHP's current veteran mayor, Aziz Kocaoğlu, also signaled that he may rerun for the position in the local elections, despite previously announcing that he would not.
Speaking at a press briefing following a meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu, Kocaoğlu, who led Turkey's third-largest city, dubbed a CHP stronghold since 2004, underscored that he will not hide from the "historical responsibility" of becoming a candidate for the party in the face of no apparent CHP candidate in the upcoming elections.
Over uncertainty on candidacy, Kocaoğlu conveyed to Kılıçdaroğlu his concerns about the CHP's possible defeat in İzmir. "I have been living in İzmir with my family. If we nominate the wrong candidate and lose the election, I cannot walk on the streets. I would have to leave İzmir if we have such an outcome," Kocaoğlu reportedly told Kılıçdaroğlu in a phone call.
During Wednesday's press meeting, Kocaoğlu said that he announced his decision not to run for the election on Oct. 1, six months ahead of the elections, and was motivated to provide the party and possible candidates more time to focus on the upcoming candidacy process.
However, Kocaoğlu stressed that the CHP had not determined a candidate for the city even after three-and-half months had passed, while the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), nominated a strong candidate, former Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi, on Nov. 27.
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