Deputies show support to CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu as the race heats up

ANADOLU AGENCY
ANKARA
Published 13.11.2015 18:11

Tensions are simmering within Turkey's largest opposition party after MPs from several provinces declared their support for current leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Friday.

The move comes after senior opposition figures in the Republican People's Party (CHP) called for an extraordinary meeting following the party's defeat in the Nov. 1 general election, and three deputies announced their candidacies to challenge the leadership.

Kılıçdaroğlu, a deputy for Istanbul, has led the party since 2010. Deputies from Ankara, Eskişehir, Konya, Kayseri and Sivas made a joint statement through lawyers on Friday, saying: "We care about the devoted work to establish democracy within the party."

CHP Yalova deputy Muharrem İnce and former CHP lawmaker Umut Oran announced their candidacy for the leadership and they have signaled support for an emergency meeting.

Previously, Oran said in a statement: "I am ready to take any kind of duty and responsibility to make the CHP [govern] alone in power."

During a press conference at the Turkish parliament on Monday, İnce said: "A new team is needed [to govern the party]. The CHP has a credibility problem. A new administration of the CHP should be convincing and it should be able to take risks. A new administration has to have the skills for managing extraordinary conditions." At a Sep. 2014 CHP congress, İnce unsuccessfully ran against Kılıçdaroğlu for the leadership.

Izmir MP Mustafa Balbay announced on Wednesday that he would challenge Kılıçdaroğlu to lead the party, saying: "I believe that we can take our party further...and it needs a new direction and method. In this respect, I am ready for the chairmanship at congress."

The CHP gained 25.32 percent of the votes and 134 of total 550 seats in the snap election on Nov. 1.

During a press conference after preliminary results were released, Kılıçdaroğlu said: "Our vote increased. Our number of deputies also increased. But, we do not perceive ourselves as being successful ... The measure of the success is to come to power."
The CHP is expected to hold a party congress in January. To be elected as party leader, a candidate must win an absolute majority from 1,218 delegates' votes.

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