CHP crumbling from within due to protests over mayoral candidates

Published 22.02.2019 00:14

The Republican People's Party (CHP) continues to grapple with mounting discontent within its local organizations after electing a number of contested mayoral candidates for the March 31 local elections.

The latest blow to the party came from the Women's Branches in various provinces. İzmir head of the CHP Women's Branches, Nurşen Balcı said Wednesday that the party did not comply with the 33 percent gender quota. She added that they would oppose the final candidate lists.

Citing their discomfort over the lack of women candidates, members of the CHP Women's Branches from İzmir's Karabağlar resigned from their posts Wednesday.

Ozan Uyan, a member of the İzmir CHP Youth Branches, expressed their dissatisfaction with the number of young people on the candidate list. "Some districts did not comply with the 20 percent quota," he said.

Meanwhile, CHP Provincial Youth Branches in Istanbul, on the other hand, has issued a memorandum in protest of the central administration's decision. "We will not stand behind the lines drawn by those who strive to attract votes of women and young people, but selects candidates according to the decisions coming from the higher-ups."

The CHP has been in turmoil for some time now due to the candidate nomination process. The party administration under incumbent Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was blamed of nominating like-minded people at the expense of popular and experienced candidates with independent stances or ties to the intraparty opposition.

CHP Istanbul Deputy Gürsel Tekin, one of Kılıçdaroğlu's close aides for over a decade, questioned the party leadership's motives. Tekin said that in the process of determining candidates, party principles were put aside and personal affiliations were put forward.

This, along with concessions to the far-right Good Party (İP), in the name of the electoral alliance, led to protests by local party organizations and mass resignations, including a member of prominent party members.

Multiple members of local party organizations in numerous districts and provinces, including Istanbul's Prince Islands and İzmir's Tire, also resigned in the last two days. In addition to the resignations, statements against the CHP headquarters have made headlines.

CHP İstanbul's Avcılar district head Hasan Şeker yesterday claimed that he had no knowledge of the list submitted to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) and the party administration had only kept them waiting for two days, instead.

A group of CHP members yesterday marched toward İzmir's Buca district shouting slogans against the district party organization for changing their mind on nominating Suat Nezir for mayor at the last minute. Protestors called for CHP İzmir Province head Deniz Yüceli to step down.

Twelve members of the party assembly announced yesterday that they were withdrawing their demand for an extraordinary convention to re-evaluate the party's debated candidates for Istanbul's Maltepe and Şanlıurfa's Siverek districts. "The warning we gave, taking into account the party bylaw and the YSK deadline, were disregarded. Although our request was sent to the headquarters in a timely manner and there was enough time to hold a convention, the date of the convention was set for a date later than the submission of the candidate lists," the members said in a written statement.

Meanwhile, the CHP's veiled cooperation with the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) continues to draw reactions from the party organizations of the CHP and İP, as well. The İP party organization inKocaeli's Kartepe district criticized the CHP administration for not withdrawing the name of HDP Deputy Ayhan Salhan from the city council members lists, contrary to what was promised.

The CHP has refrained from officially including the HDP, which has been condemned for its close ties with the PKK, in its electoral alliance with the İP amid fears of a possible backlash from its secular-nationalist voter base. Meanwhile, former CHP chairman and now CHP Antalya Deputy Deniz Baykal was sworn in as deputy yesterday after it was postponed due to health concerns.

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