Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had a meeting with CHP deputies on Saturday in Ankara to determine its new political strategy after the referendum on April 16. Indicating the road map moving forward in the new period in the context of the constitutional change, Kılıçdaroğlu said that the CHP's deputies will be moderately represented in Parliament, moving away from employing insults, while also resisting channges.
At the beginning of the meeting, which lasted about seven hours, 48 deputies evaluated the current situation as well as the reasons why the "no" vote failed, with CHP Deputy Chairmen Bülent Tezcan and Erdaş Aksünger making a presentation about the referendum day and revealing the road map to be followed in a legal procedure to annul the referendum results.
"Our lawyers are working [on the issue]. We will try every way. As we went to the Council of State [to annul the decision given by Turkey's top election board on the rejection of the CHP's demand to repeat the referendum], we will apply everywhere. It is my duty to protect the rights of [Turkish] citizens in this process where not only the ‘yes' votes but also all the votes that were cast are controversial," Kılıçdaroğlu stated.
Despite Kılıçdaroğlu's call for soft political rhetoric, some CHP deputies argued that the CHP should help prevent Parliament from working effectively. In addition, CHP deputies decided to propagate the election results saying they were not legitimate. Kılıçdaroğlu said, "We will continue to discuss the legal legitimacy of the referendum and we will not let the nation forget it."
Last week, CHP Deputy Chairman Selin Sayek Böke's said the party should boycott Parliament if the referendum results were legally hindered, provoking a large discussion at the meeting. It was noted that the explanation of the decision to leave Parliament, made by Böke, who was corrected by CHP deputy Levent Gök within a few hours of her explanation,was harshly criticized during the meeting. Some deputies stated that Böke's idea was a political mistake, while some were supportive attitude toward her. Kılıçdaroğlu previously indicated that it is "impossible" to leave Parliament at this stage.
Additionally, Kılıçdaroğlu accused the organization of the party for the failure at the ballot box instead of addressing self-criticism. Kılıçdaroğlu indicated that the CHP's mayors worked well during the referendum campaigning process but its provincial and district administration did not work hard enough.
On that note, some members of the CHP expressed their demands for an extraordinary congress to elect the party's senior executive members. Kılıçdaroğlu said that if it is necessary, a congress will be organized before the ordinary congress, which is slated for 2018.