The former head of the Istanbul Bar Association, Ümit Kocasakal, will declare his intention to run for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) chairmanship, according to reports.
Speaking to the Sözcü daily, Mustafa Gültekin, Kocasakal's adviser, said that the former head of the Istanbul Bar Association will hold a press conference tomorrow and make a statement regarding his candidacy.
The CHP's general ordinary congress is expected to be held on Feb. 3-4. On the first day, either a new chairperson will be elected or current Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu will maintain his post. On the second and last day of the congress, members of the party assembly will be elected. Hundreds of people have so far declared their candidacy to become a party assembly member.
Previously, Kocasakal viciously criticized Kılıçdaroğlu's Justice March - which the chairman began on June 15 following the imprisonment of CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoglu, who was sentenced to 25 years for leaking secret information about the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
"I won't march along those who cooperate with imperialist forces and have issues with the territorial integrity of this country, with Atatürk and the Republic itself," Kocasakal said.
Meanwhile, İsmail Altay, a board member of Istanbul Bar Association during Kocasakal's term, also said that Kocasakal will announce his candidacy on Wednesday.
"All patriots will stand shoulder to shoulder at this press conference. I will be glad to be with him on our march to power," he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu has often been criticized for not propelling himself to the fore and often remaining in the background in critical elections. He did not enter the presidential elections in 2014, and instead, the CHP nominated Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, a former head of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
İhsanoğlu entered the election as the joint candidate for the CHP, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Democrat Party (DP), Democratic Left Party (DSP), Great Union Party (BBP), Independent Turkey Party (BTP) and several other minor parties, but garnered only 38.4 percent of the vote, coming in second after Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Kılıçdaroğlu's poor performances in elections and referendums since taking office in 2010 after Chairman Deniz Baykal resigned over a sex tape scandal, has also displeased many of the party's supporters. Kılıçdaroğlu has lost the national vote eight times in elections and referendums so far.
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