17 July 2012Turkeys main opposition Republican Peoples Party (CHP) is set to return to its social-democratic roots at its 34th ordinary congress with leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu expected to add new social-democratic figures to his A-team ahead of upcoming local elections and presidential elections, both slated for 2014.
At the congress, Kılıçdaroğlu will release his Democracy and Freedom Manifesto, which includes criticism of the governments interference in the judiciary and individual rights and choices, and the governments utopian foreign policy, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.
The CHP congress is convening today with hopes of shifting back to its social-democratic roots, as party grassroots request more leftist and social-democrat figures within the party administration.
Kılıçdaroğlu held separate meetings with CHP lawmakers and CHP provincial chairpersons over the weekend, in which he listened to their views about the congress.
CHPs provincial chairpersons requested that leftist and social-democrat figures gain more seats in the CHPs party assembly, the Daily News has learned.
Kılıçdaroğlu, for his part, vowed that the party would move in a more leftist and social-democratic direction after the congress, adding that it would be the CHPs institutionalization congress.
The CHP will be renewed after this congress. We will use more leftist and social-democrat discourse. We will highlight democracy, freedom and human rights in our congress. We will remove government pressure, which is the biggest barrier to democracy. We will also take part in the Socialist International administration, Kılıçdaroğlu was quoted as saying in daily Hürriyet yesterday.
Kılıçdaroğlu, who prioritized democracy, freedom and human rights instead of old-guard party policies prioritizing secularism and Kemalism, will put his stamp on the party once more by renewing the party assembly.
On the first day of the two-day congress, the CHPs 1,282 delegates will elect the chairman. No rivals are expected to compete against Kılıçdaroğlu. The CHPs 60-seat party assembly will be elected tomorrow on the second day of the congress, where tough competition is expected.
Party assembly members will be elected by an open-list method; by which any CHP member can stand as a candidate for party assembly membership. Previously such elections within the CHP were done with a bloc-list method in which the chairman formed a list that was then voted on by delegates.
According to information the Daily News gathered from party sources, some lawmakers in Saturdays meeting asked Kılıçdaroğlu to insist on the bloc-list method for the party assembly elections, on the grounds that party assembly members loyal to the chairman are in favor of the partys unity and solidarity.
The CHPs provincial chairpersons, on the other hand, expressed their desire for the open-list method. Kılıçdaroğlu reportedly said that the party assembly would be elected by the open-list method, but he would reveal a key list to delegates and seek support for the team he wants to work with.
He is expected to determine more than 60 names for party assembly memberships, but delegates will be free to choose the members on Kılıçdaroğlus key list or other members.
Many names are being circulated in CHP corridors for Kılıçdaroğlus key list for the party assembly elections. A number of lawmakers are expected to be on Kılıçdaroğlus list, among them Şafak Pavey, Adnan Keskin and İlhan Cihaner. Social-democrat figures such as Burhan Şenatalar, Fikri Sağlar, Ahmet Özer and Necdet Pamir as well as Ankara Bar Association head Metin Feyzioğlu are expected to be on Kılıçdaroğlus list.
Despite his emphasis on social democracy, Kılıçdaroğlu suggested that those who previously supported the right-wing Motherland Party (ANAP) and DYP (True Path Party) should come under the CHP umbrella.
Those who are uneasy about this totalitarian move should lend their support to the CHP. Lets save Turkey from this oddity; we can discuss other issues afterward, Kılıçdaroğlu was quoted as saying in daily Hürriyet yesterday.