As the Republican People's Party (CHP) continues its official signature count for an extraordinary convention, debates over the exact number of delegates is fueling the divergences between dissidents and the party administration.
The examination process and period for sending the delegate lists, however, comes to end today at 5 p.m. when the party administration is set to issue an official statement. Yet, it is unlikely that the turmoil over the discrepancies in number of pro and anti-convention delegates will come to an end sometime soon.
On July 26 the collection of delegate signatures was launched by dissidents, led by Muharrem İnce, the former presidential candidate of the CHP, to challenge incumbent Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. They were submitted to the party administration on Aug. 2. A day later, the party administration announced that the quorum for the convention had not been reached according to their preliminary examinations.
According to party administration statements, 614 delegate signatures certified by the notary were submitted along with 8 notarized copies issued as the original. Four repeated signatures and five signatures belonging to former delegates were omitted. Following the elimination of omission, 605 signatures were left.
The party administration is projecting that following the new omission of signatures along with the withdrawal of signatures by some delegates, only 550 signatures will be left.
The signatures of delegates who were declared as non-delegates by the CHP administration has sparked a new debate between the dissidents and CHP headquarters.
In relation to the issue, Gaye Usluer, a prominent figure and spokeswomen of the dissident faction has stated that the five delegates whose signatures were omitted are still registered in the party log.
Reportedly, the list of signatures obtained by Sabah newspaper revealed that the dissidents have collected signatures from 76 out of 81 provinces. Ten deputies out of 144, 12 members of the Party Assembly and four members of the 15-member high disciplinary committee signed the petition.
İstanbul, Ankara, and İzmir have the highest chance to change the fate of the party as they have the most delegates. The dissidents had collected a considerable amount of signatures from these three big cities that previously taken Kılıçdaroğlu's side in the last convention held seven months ago.
Dissidents have been blaming incumbent party leader Kılıçdaroğlu, who has led the party since 2011, for repeated failures in previous elections, hence calling for a change in the administration. The dissenting voices in the CHP had become louder following the June 24 elections after the CHP received much less votes than CHP's presidential candidate Muharrem İnce.
Throughout the process, the CHP administration led by Kılıçdaroğlu urged the dissidents to give up on their demand for a convention and maintained that internal divisions were harming the party and undermining preparations for upcoming 2019 local elections.