Ahead of the ordinary congress of his party, Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's biggest leverage to prevent any intra-party rivalries is the local, presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2019.
According to behind-the-scene information from the party, no rivalry is expected for Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy. However, the reason behind the current lack of the intra-party opposition, which surfaced after the April 16 referendum with the demand of an extraordinary congress, is said to be the upcoming elections.
There are many CHP deputies preparing for mayoral candidacies despite the CHP leader's previous remarks that do not favor such a situation. In the CHP, mayoral candidates are determined by central voting, which means that Kılıçdaroğlu will play a main role in determining candidates.
Considering the possibility of early elections on its agenda, the CHP plans to complete its preparations for elections in 2018 in case the elections are held in 2019 as planned. Determining candidates in local elections and the process of sharing their programs with the public will become clearer in the middle of 2018.
Thus, CHP Yalova Deputy Muharrem İnce, who has made his aspirations for the chairmanship public from time to time, is not expected to run for the position anymore despite following the congress process very closely. However, rumor has it that İnce plans to run for mayor of Istanbul in the upcoming local elections.
The ordinary congress is expected to last two days. On the first day, either a new chairman will be elected or the current chairman, 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.
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 Chairman Deniz Baykal resigned over a sex tape scandal. Kılıçdaroğlu has lost the national vote eight times in elections and referendums, so far. Despite facing harsh criticism over the years, Kılıçdaroğlu is expected to run for chairman as the sole candidate.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu met with Felicity Party (SP) Chairman Temel Karamollaoğlu yesterday. Following the meeting, both leaders made statements to the media. Karamollaoğlu said they shared their offers regarding the adjustment laws by paying a return visit to the CHP leader who visited the SP following the April 16 referendum. Kılıçdaroğlu, on the other hand, stated that they also discussed problems in Turkey.
Since many constitutional changes were approved in the April 16 referendum, adjustment laws and changes to the electoral system must be made. Thus, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) started to work on the issue and is expected to place the first package, which focuses on local elections, in Parliament by the end of January.