While the election of delegates to vote for the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) chair elections, which are expected to take place in November this year, continued in provinces, the congresses were marked by fights between opposing groups inside the party.
In the provincial congress held on Sept. 16 in CHP stronghold İzmir, 152 out of 617 delegates submitted a "block list" motion to the council. After the motion was submitted, some delegates objected to the elections with block list.
If the party administration opts for a "block list" election, competing delegate lists vie for votes, and the list with the highest vote count determines the delegates to be sent to the main party convention.
Alternatively, in a "sheet list" voting method in the provincial congress, it allows for the election of delegates from various factions within the party, rather than automatically electing all candidates endorsed by a majority group. This leads to representation of diverse group of delegates to be sent.
In Izmir congress, where tensions gradually increased, some delegates tried to attack the city's mayor Tunç Soyer and party's provincial chair Şenol Aslanoğlu.
The police intervened in the incident and the congress was suspended. Soyer and Aslanoğlu were escorted out of the congress hall by the police.
Current provincial chair Aslanoğlu won the elections held with a block list.
Aslanoğlu said in his speech before the elections, "This is the path of resurrection, this is the path of unity, this is the path of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, this is the path of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk!"
Özgür Özel and Örsan Öymen have recently announced that they will compete against the current chair Kılıçdaroğlu for the party's leadership in congress. A faction in the party led by Istanbul Mayor has been openly criticizing Kılıçdaroğlu after the loss in the 2023 elections.
Even though İmamoğlu announced that he will run for his current seat in 2024 local elections, Özel, as a name close to him, will be the most probable candidate of the faction favoring change in the party.
During Özel's speech at the Izmir Provincial Congress, chants of "Kılıçdaroğlu is the hope of young people" were raised. In response, Özel said, "(Former Interior Minister) Süleyman Soylu could not silence me. The one who gave this instruction to you to do this cannot silence me either."
The CHP announced that Kılıçdaroğlu instructed to investigate those who caused the incidents at the Izmir congress and to take necessary actions.
Opposing groups march on each other at Konya Congress
In Central Anatolian Konya province, a similar election method crisis broke out in the congress where three candidates competed for the province’s chair. After a discussion, the opposing factions marched on each other.
The brawl ended with the intervention of some party members. While a district mayor passed out due to the fights, some district organizations left the hall in reaction.
Özel and CHP spokesperson in fresh row during congress
Özel also attended the party's Karaman provincial congress and criticised the low number of publicly known figures in the CHP.
Party spokesperson Faik Öztrak, who was at the congress at the time, reacted against Özel, who also said that even the members of the party’s central executive committee were not sufficiently known.
“All of our friends in the committee are composed of friends who have the ability to drag large masses behind them everywhere, who can be leaders in every field in Turkey,” Öztrak said.
The Ankara provincial congress is scheduled to be held on Sept. 24 and the Istanbul provincial congress on Oct. 8.
With the end of the provincial congresses, the 1370 delegates who will elect the new chairman of the party will be determined.
The CHP's 38th Ordinary Congress, where the new chairman, the Party Assembly and the Supreme Disciplinary Board will be elected, is expected to be held in early November.