Muharrem İnce, an intra-party dissident in the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), criticized the leadership of party chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in a TV broadcast on Wednesday, raising his profile once again to establish his run for party chairmanship.
İnce, a CHP deputy from the province of Yalova, is expected to hold a rally in Istanbul on June 4 at which he will announce his candidacy for party chairmanship. Speaking in a program, he said: "We have seen that things have not worked with Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu for seven elections."
Accusing him of a lack of vision, İnce challenged Kılıçdaroğlu, saying: "I want to rule the country. Let's see who is willing to do this. I trust the surveys from the research companies."
İnce is a well-known intra-dissident figure, who has on many occasions slammed the leadership skills of Kılıçdaroğlu. He directed harsh criticism at the party administration after the voting results of the bill for lifting parliamentary immunities, and reportedly accused the CHP administration of not "acting courageously" regarding the bill.
The conflict between the two figures has surfaced previously. Kılıçdaroğlu slammed İnce for organizing a rally in Edremit, saying: "If there is a need to rally, it will be under the name of the CHP. No one will organize such rallies without the approval of the party." Stressing that he is ready to gather an emergency convention if there is dissatisfaction with his leadership, Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said the threshold requiring the support of 15 percent of CHP delegates for a leadership challenge could be lowered, implying he has no fear for his position as party leader.
The dissidents have become more vocal, following the approval on Friday of the bill to remove the immunity of some deputies. The CHP previously declared that it would vote in favor of the bill, but the first round of the voting on Thursday saw many CHP deputies defying their party and voting against it. The second round of voting on Friday revealed that around 20 deputies had changed their strategy after drawing a strong reaction from their colleges and supporters, thereby contributing to the rise in 'yes' votes.
A lack of a definite strategy from the CHP regarding the bill, and the inability of deputies to unite around party policies, indicates problems in the party administration.
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