Dissidents in the Republican People's Party (CHP) continue to raise their voices one after another against Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu due to the party's votes in Sunday's elections. This could be a precursor of fierce competition for leadership in the party's upcoming general congress.
Umut Oran, former Istanbul CHP deputy, called for Kılıçdaroğlu to convene the general congress immediately and announced his candidacy for chairmanship in a written statement on Wednesday.
Oran said that unless Kılıçdaroğlu faces reality and does what is necessary, the party organization and current delegates will take the most important duty themselves: "As Kılıçdaroğlu had pointed when he took office, unfortunately a considerable increase in vote could not be provided in six elections in the last five years."
Oran's name had been mentioned due to alleged ties with the Gülen Movement prior to the March 30, 2014, local elections because he posted on Twitter that then prime minister and current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, would flee to Malaysia before the elections, was excluded from the party's candidate list for the June 7 general elections due to pressure. He was also not placed on the candidate list for the most recent elections.
CHP İzmir Deputy Mustafa Balbay has also voiced his displeasure recently. Speaking on a radio program on Tuesday, Balbay said if he were in Kılıçdaroğlu's shoes, he would not continue to be chairman after this "failure." When asked if he will run for the chairmanship, he said: "The general process might bring us [forward], you know. Why not?"
CHP Mersin Deputy Fikri Sağlar also criticized the party's vote share and said, "Sticking at 25 percent of the vote is not a success," referring to the party's votes increasing by a miniscule amount from June to November.
Several pro-CHP figures in the media also contributed to the wave of criticism against Kılıçdaroğlu, saying that it is time for change in the party.
Columnist Bekir Coşkun of the pro-Kemalist daily Sözcü on Tuesday wrote a piece saying Kılıçdaroğlu must leave his seat now due to the electoral defeat and the CHP needs new leaders. "After losing eight elections to [the AK Party], why does a person wait to go away?" he asked, adding that it is impossible to pretend nothing happened.
Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan, previously known to have made positive remarks about Kılıçdaroğlu, said in his TV program on CNN Türk on Monday evening that the CHP needs comprehensive reform. He said: "It is the same in every election. It means that this cannot go on with Kılıçdaroğlu. Would the CHP not just change lots of things, including its chairman?"
CHP General Secretary Gürsel Tekin said after the Central Executive Committee (MYK) meeting on Tuesday that the party's general congress will be held in February.
The CHP received 25.31 percent of the vote and 133 seats in Parliament in the recent elections, which had an 85.18 percent turnout of more than 54 million people eligible to vote.