Two candidates for the chairmanship of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Muharrem İnce and Umut Oran, declared in written statements on Thursday that they are standing down as candidates in the race against current Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
İnce, a CHP Yalova deputy, who had previously taken a crack at the post in 2014, said that he will not run for any position that is written in the media, saying he does not want to contribute to the mistakes in the party by being a candidate. "My wish is being mistaken in what I have said." İnce said.
Oran, a former Istanbul deputy, said he is postponing his campaign, but not giving up being a candidate. He said: "With my decision, I do not approve of Kılıçdaroğlu, on the contrary, I condemn his anti-democratic attitude in front of history." Oran also indicated in the statement that he will not run for membership of the party council in the upcoming congress on Jan.16-17.
Some see this development as Kılıçdaroğlu having full control over the party, since the two well-known figures cannot find enough support to run for the chairmanship.
CHP İzmir Deputy Mustafa Balbay is the only person who has declared his candidateship so far. Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Jan. 11, Balbay said he will start to collect the 200 required signatures from delegates to be a candidate for chairmanship as of Monday. Whether he will achieve the required amount of signatures in less than a week is yet to be seen.
The CHP has held 34 ordinary and 18 extraordinary congresses up until now and this will be the 35th ordinary congress after delegates were determined during provincial congresses. Forty-six of the 81 provincial heads were renewed and an additional 35 provinces elected new heads. It is strongly perceived that Kılıçdaroğlu will change Central Executive Committee (MYK) members after the party council elections.