The main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) most prominent dissident figure, Muharrem İnce, signaled that he may restart his campaign to force the incumbent party Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to step down following the March 31 local elections.
On Thursday, İnce addressed people in the western province of Balıkesir as a part of the CHP's local election campaign to attract votes for the party's Balıkesir's Altıeylül district mayoral candidate. During a break, a citizen told him that they wanted him in the seat of the CHP chairmanship. In response, İnce said, "I want it too."
Numerous media reports and some pundits have been pointing out that İnce has been waiting for the party to go through the elections before re-challenging Kılıçdaroğlu and dragging the CHP into turmoil once more.
Internal divisions were first sparked by the dissidents' demands for change following the June 24 elections where İnce, the presidential candidate of the party at that time, attracted almost 10 percent more votes than the party attracted itself.
Poor results sparked debates within the party as some party members called on Kılıçdaroğlu, whom they see as responsible for repeated election failures, to step down. Kılıçdaroğlu, whose party has suffered nine successive nationwide election defeats under his leadership, has been also criticized for a wide range of issues, ranging from poor performances in elections and referendums to his overall performance since he began heading the CHP in 2010.
The dissidents started the process of collecting signatures for a convention on July 16 to challenge incumbent Kılıçdaroğlu. Yet, the collected signatures for the convention failed to reach a quorum and faced some harsh reaction and efforts to tame down from the administration.
Since then, no concrete steps have been taken amid the party's preparations for the upcoming elections and seemingly dissidents have been waiting for the aftermath of the March 31 elections.
Considering mounting criticism against Kılıçdaroğlu during the election period for nominating figures closer to him at the expense of popular and more experienced candidates with independent stances or ties to the intraparty opposition, a bumpy road and a strengthening dissident faction is waiting ahead for the chairman after the elections.
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