Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu may have a new opponent in the party with a deputy not ruling out his candidacy as the party's general congress in early February nears.
CHP Yalova Deputy Muharrem İnce, who has made his intentions for the chairmanship public from time to time, may run against Kılıçdaroğlu in February. Rebuffing CHP İzmir Deputy Tuncay Özkan, who claimed in a televised interview that İnce would not run for chairman upon his meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu, İnce said that nobody gets permission from anybody to be chairman of the CHP.
The ordinary congress is expected to last two days. On the first day, either a new chairman will be elected or current Kılıçdaroğlu will keep his position. For the time being, Kılıçdaroğlu seems to be the only candidate. On the second and last day, members of the party assembly are elected. Hundreds of people have so far declared their candidacies to become party assembly members.
However, things could change quickly. İnce's statement that nobody gets permission to run for the post was interpreted as his intention to declare his candidacy. İnce indeed is familiar with the situation. He ran for chairman in September 2014 at the 18th Extraordinary CHP Congress, yet he only received 415 votes.
Kılıçdaroğlu has often been criticized on a wide range of issues, ranging from poor performance in elections and referendums to his overall performance since taking office in the CHP in 2010 after the Chairman Deniz Baykal resigned over a sex tape scandal. Kılıçdaroğlu has lost the national vote eight times in elections and referendums so far. Despite harsh criticism over the years, Kılıçdaroğu is expected to run for chairman as the sole candidate.
No one else has announced their candidacy for the chairmanship, so Kılıçdaroğlu should be the only candidate as it stands now. The signatures of at least 10 percent of all party delegates are needed to be a candidate. At the 35th ordinary congress of the party, İzmir Deputy Mustafa Balbay could not gather the 128 signatures needed to be a candidate.
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