The leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) will re-evaluate the candidates for the March local elections after an outcry from dissatisfied party members, according to media reports.
According to Turkish media outlets, CHP members expressed their discomfort over some candidates, particularly Mehmet Fatih Bucak, the Nation Alliance candidate for Şanlıurfa's Siverek district, during the party's central executive board meeting Monday. The Nation Alliance was formed between the far-right Good Party (İP) and the CHP. During the public unveiling of CHP Şanlıurfa candidates, Bucak's name was not announced, causing rumors on his possible withdrawal. Bucak, however, said his withdrawal was out of the question and claimed that he did not attend the ceremony due to an urgent matter. It was reported that CHP members urged the party leadership to cancel Bucak's candidacy due to his previous remarks about other mayoral candidates that were deemed incompatible with the CHP policies.
Following the opposition, it was reported that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that they weighed the opinions of every segment of the society before determining candidates. However, he has decided to conduct a general re-evaluation of all the candidates and a related statement will be released within the next few days. Bucak previously applied for candidacy from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) but resigned when the MHP did not nominate a candidate in Şanlıurfa, as part of its strategy with the People's Alliance, formed with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Özgür Özel, the CHP group vice chairman, heavily criticized Bucak Sunday, saying he disapproves of his candidacy, with Bucak's menacing words against other mayoral candidates being one of the reasons.Refuting the criticism, Bucak said Sunday that his statements against his competitors were misinterpreted.
Earlier Monday, CHP Istanbul Deputy Gürsel Tekin said regarding the disputes that in the process of determining candidates party principles were put aside and personal affiliations were put forward. Tekin claimed that different criteria and standards were set for each polling district.
In a written statement, Tekin noted that the mayoral candidate selection process was objective. He stressed that the names with the most public support were not selected to run for the office. The candidate determination process has shaken the party as there have been several disputes and resignations. The latest resignation came from the mayor of western Kırklareli, Mehmet Siyam Kesimoğlu. Kesimoğlu said that he is resigning from the CHP because of the "latest developments within the party." Before Kesimoğlu, 16 other party members, including the CHP Istanbul Maltepe district head Engin Özkan and CHP Secretary-General Mehmet Akif Hamzaçebi, as well as several current mayors, who have not been renominated for the elections, left their posts, claiming that the CHP administration ignored their opinions in the candidate selection process.