Turkey's main opposition to discuss new leader

Friday, August 15, 2014

Following disappointing results in Sunday's presidential elections, the chairman of the Republican People's Party has agreed to hold a congress to discuss his leadership

Following disappointing results in Sunday's presidential elections, the chairman of the Republican People's Party has agreed to hold a congress to discuss his leadership

ANKARA - The leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party has agreed to hold a party congress at which his future is likely to be top of the agenda.

Following their candidate’s poorer than expected performance in last Sunday’s presidential election, several lawmakers in the party, known by the Turkish acronym CHP, held a press conference to suggest the removal of Kemal Kilicdaroglu as chairman.

Speaking on Thursday, he said: "I told those who held a press conference 'If you want to hold party congress, bring the signatures, I will convene the party congress immediately.'

"But obviously they have difficulty in collecting the signatures. Rest assured that I will hold the party congress."

Speaking after a visit to injured Palestinians in Ankara, the Turkish capital, he added: "I will decide the congress date after consulting my colleagues."

"Deputy party group chairman Muharrem Ince claimed Friday that he would be a candidate for the next chairman of the party. I'm extremely pleased to hear that," Kilicdaroglu told reporters.

On Tuesday, Ankara CHP lawmaker Emine Ulker Tarhan called on Kilicdaroglu to resign and convene an extraordinary party congress.

She claimed the party leadership had been warned about the danger of selecting a joint candidate, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who represented both the center-left CHP and the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party.

According to provisional results, Ihsanoglu received 38.44 percent of the vote. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the race by garnering nearly 52 percent of the vote.

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