The Republican People's Party (CHP) will hold a congress on Jan. 15-16, 2016 to elect a new leader after deputies opposed to current leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu were unable to collect enough signatories to force an extraordinary party congress. Sources from CHP headquarters indicated that the Party Assembly meeting on Wednesday evening abounded with heated debates. In the meeting, CHP İzmir Deputy Aytun Çıray criticized the party's politics and reportedly said that if the party continues on its current path it will become an ethnic-identity party like the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP).
"The CHP is becoming an ethnic-identity and sectarian party. In the major cities, 75 percent of our congress members are of Alevi origin," Aydınlık daily reported Çıray saying. Also in the meeting, CHP Bolu Deputy Tanju Özcan heavily criticized Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and his administration for successive election disappointments and reportedly suggested that Kılıçdaroğlu retire from politics. A member of the Party Assembly, Halit Toraman, heavily criticized Kılıçdaroğlu's administration for taking the decision to hold a general congress without consulting the Party Assembly. In the Nov. 1 early elections, the CHP received 25.31 percent of the vote and gained 133 seats in Parliament. The election results also indicate that in 35 out of Turkey's 81 provinces no CHP candidates were elected. Yalova deputy Muharrem İnce, and former deputies Umut Oran and Mustafa Balbay have already announced their candidacies for the chairmanship.