The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is getting ready for a Jan. 13 election to choose the party's Istanbul provincial head.
According to CHP sources, more than half of its 39 district heads may support Cemal Canpolat for the position, while 14 others were likely to back former party assembly member Canan Kaftancıoğlu and Gökhan Zeybek, the deputy mayor of Istanbul's Sarıyer district, if they decided to run for the office.
In the buildup to the elections, CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had a meeting with the party's district heads in Ankara and called for a democratic election, while subtly pointing at Kaftancıoğlu.
Following the meeting, Canpolat came together with the district heads that support him and made a situation assessment.
Canpolat, who has been the CHP's Istanbul provincial head for two years now, declared his candidacy for the next term yesterday.
Meanwhile, a surprise meeting between Kaftancıoğlu and Zeybek took place Monday. After the meeting, Zeybek on his social media accounts shared that he was backing Kaftancıoğlu's candidacy.
The Istanbul provincial elections are also crucial because it would determine party chairman Kılıçdaroğlu's rivals, if there are any, in the upcoming CHP ordinary congress on Feb. 3-4.
CHP Yalova Deputy Muharrem İnce, who has made his aspirations for the chairmanship public from time to time, will also decide whether or not he will run for the office after the Istanbul provincial head elections.
Since İnce already has the support of the majority of the delegates in seven provincial congresses, he is planning to put himself forward if he manages to be effective in determining the Istanbul provincial administration.
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 will be elected. Hundreds of people have so far declared their wish to become party assembly members.
The party also struggles to determine its candidate for the 2019 presidential elections and has yet to announce a name.
In comparison, the ruling Justice and Development Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have jointly declared that they would back President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Kılıçdaroğlu has lost the national vote eight times in elections and referendums, since taking office in 2010 after Chairman Deniz Baykal resigned over a sex tape scandal.
Despite facing harsh criticism over the years, Kılıçdaroğlu is expected to run for the post of chairman as the sole candidate.
Meanwhile, the party's provincial head elections, ahead of its ordinary congress, have been marred by intra-party conflicts in İzmir and Kırşehir.
A squabble between two opposing groups overshadowed the election process in both cities Sunday. Party members had to intervene in Kırşehir, while in İzmir the candidates were openly criticized.