Current İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu from the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) sent a letter on Saturday to the Party Assembly and 18 party deputy chairmen to pressure the administration to decide on a candidate in the March 31 local elections.
In his letter, Kocaoğlu, who leads Turkey's third-largest city, dubbed a CHP stronghold since 2004, emphasized that 10 million people who regard İzmir as a symbol are waiting for the next İzmir mayoral candidate in the upcoming elections.
"The Central Executive Board and the members of the Party Assembly are shouldering a historical responsibility," Kocaoğlu said, referring to the candidate selection process.
Stressing that to win the general elections and country, one must win locally, Kocaoğlu pointed out that İzmir is the biggest contributor to CHP votes countrywide, and it is the biggest city that the party governs.
He added that he and the party have the same objective: to increase CHP votes and come out of this difficult period stronger.
On Wednesday Kocaoğlu, signaled that he might run again for the position in the local elections, despite previously announcing that he would not, saying that he will not escape the "historical responsibility" of becoming a candidate for the party over uncertainty concerning the candidacy. His remarks came after his meeting with incumbent party chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
The party has been struggling to present a new candidate after Kocaoğlu announced that he would not run again for the İzmir mayoral office on Oct.1 to provide the party and possible candidates more time to focus on the upcoming candidacy process. Following the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) nomination of a popular figure for the province, former Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi on Nov. 27, some members of the party have been voicing their discomfort over the sluggish process of determining the candidate.
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