12 May 2012
by Göksel Bozkurt, HDN
As the convention approaches, activity in the main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) has increased. Deputy Head of CHP Gürsel Tekin has resigned. The fight over the provincial presidency of Istanbul was the final straw and Tekin has gone. Many are curious whether Tekin will leave CHP or form a new party.
In the deep corridors of CHP theres talk of surprising future plans, interesting alliance expectations and searches for change. There are many eccentric scenarios; there are also realistic ones. But, I can share this observation of mine: Tekin will not retreat and will not rest after his resignation.
There is a strong expectation that Tekin will start a struggle toward the Party Assembly (PM) at the convention to be held in July. Especially, if he can succeed in having Ali Özcan elected as Istanbul provincial head on May 13, then he will have a stronger hand. He might try to place as many opponents as he can to the PM and plan a future over this victory.
When the statute of CHP was amended at the beginning of the year, it was adopted that the PM is elected with an open list. This is a crucial advantage for the opposition, because in a block list (closed list) whoever the leader wants is elected. The open list allows the opportunity for someone to be elected to the PM despite not having the leaders support. At the beginning of the 2000s this has happened in the CHP and 17 people were able to penetrate through Baykals list and become a member of the PM.
Tekin could also have an attempt to force implementing such a process to increase his power inside the party. Or, however difficult it may be, he may wait until the local elections in 2014 and in the case of an election defeat, he could become a candidate for leadership challenging Kılıçdaroğlu.
It is also whispered that Tekin may keep a low profile for some time and then negotiate with Kılıçdaroğlu for a position such as Istanbul Mayor.
If Tekins plans are to challenge leadership in the future or to support a name who is challenging the leadership, then the timing of his resignation is correct. For the first time Kılıçdaroğlu is holding a convention where he is able to determine the delegates, the organization and the administration. In the case of a probable defeat he will have no one else to blame. Tekin may want to walk to leadership or become an influential power center in the party by staying outside during this process, by growing over not partnering in the mistakes.
I hear that Kılıçdaroğlus game plan is ready. He may submit a block list instead of an open list in the convention for the PM and silence the opposition. It is also whispered that against a probable unification of power, he may include some important names on the front desk of the party. There may be a surprise, it is pointed out. Kılıçdaroğlu may announce Mustafa Sarıgül as the candidate for Istanbul Mayor right after the convention, leaving Tekin outside the loop. Its like hitting two birds with one stone. Regardless of Sarıgül winning or losing, Kılıçdaroğlu can walk to the general elections cleared of his two serious rivals.
There are rumors and also expectations voiced in the corridors. In all circumstances, this summer will be warm for CHP. The July congress and its outcome will have crucial significance for CHPs mid-term future plans including the local and the general elections.