Hopeful for CHP chairmanship says barriers gone for extraordinary congress

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A main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) figure who recently announced he would run for party chairman in the party’s upcoming congress has called on CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to call for an extraordinary congress without delay, arguing that a sufficient number of CHP delegates now support the idea of holding an extraordinary congress.
“All the psychological barriers have been demolished regarding the collection of [enough] signatures [from delegates]. There is no longer a quantitative problem,” former CHP deputy Umut Oran said at a press conference in Ankara on Friday. Noting that Kılıçdaroğlu called for an extraordinary congress last year when his rival at the time, Muharrem İnce, had collected just 177 signatures from delegates, Oran said, “That threshold has been crossed today.”
Following the disappointing result for the CHP in the recent general election, there have been calls in the party for an extraordinary congress in order to change the party’s leadership. As per the CHP’s party bylaws, a nominee for party chairman needs to obtain the support of at least one-fifth of all party delegates, who are entitled to vote in a party congress and number over 1,200.
An extraordinary congress can also be held with support from the same number of delegates. Underlining that the dissidents who will run for party chairman have already collected more signatures than this figure, Oran implied that they already have the support of more than 415 delegates, which is the number who voted for İnce last year.

Oran was a CHP deputy before the general election on June 7 but was not listed on the CHP ticket as a deputy candidate in the last two general elections. As per the party’s bylaws, dissidents need the support of more than half of the delegates for an extraordinary congress in which an election for party chairman can be made to be held.

Oran warned that should Kılıçdaroğlu wait to see that more than half the delegates support the dissidents’ bid, he have would lost his legitimacy as leader of the party because that would mean he no longer has the support of the majority of delegates. Oran also implied that Kılıçdaroğlu might not get the support in the congress of all the delegates who seem to be supporting him so far, noting that he only received 740 votes in the extraordinary congress last year even though 944 delegates had voiced their support for Kılçdaroğlu ahead of the congress.

İnce, a CHP deputy who unsuccessfully ran for CHP chairman in an extraordinary congress after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) candidate, was elected to the presidency by popular vote, is another dissident who has called for an extraordinary congress.
CHP İzmir deputy Mustafa Balbay is another candidate who recently announced his candidacy for chairman.

The dissidents need to submit the signatures to the CHP headquarters by Nov. 25 to force a congress. If they manage to collect enough delegates, then the party has to hold an extraordinary congress within 45 days.

The party only slightly increased its share of the vote in the snap general election on Nov. 1, leaving the party, which expected to get up to 30 percent of the vote, highly disappointed. The CHP received 25.3 percent of the vote on Nov. 1, up from 24.9 in the June 7 general election.
The party is now represented by 134 deputies in Parliament, down from 132 seats following June 7.

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