Kılıçdaroğlu doesn’t close the door for running for CHP leadership again

In his first live broadcast following the party congress defeat since November, Kılıçdaroğlu hasn’t closed the door for running for the party leadership again “if the delegates suggest” so.

Duvar English

Former Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on May 27 participated in his first live broadcast since his defeat in the party congress in November.

Following his presidential election defeat against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May 2023, Kılıçdaroğlu lost the party congress to the “revisionist” Özgür Özel in November, which ended his 13-year-long CHP leadership. 

In a KRT TV live broadcast, Kılıçdaroğlu hasn’t closed the door for running for the party leadership again “if the delegates suggest” so.

“I never said I would be the chair at the congress. Delegates nominated me as a candidate. It depends on the delegates. If they suggest it, I will not say I will not run for (the party leadership),” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Kılıçdaroğlu made a similar comment for his presidential candidacy. “It was as if I forcefully became a presidential candidate, it was never even in my mind. In the (CHP) Central Board, the Party Assembly, and the Parliamentary group, they said that ‘you must be a candidate.’ They said this at every meeting.”

He also commented on his agreement with far-right party leader Ümit Özdağ, known for his anti-immigrant stance, signed in between the two rounds of the presidential election.

“We were in a period when we needed even one vote. There is nothing as wrong as leaving the conditions of that day aside and making comments according to today. There is something very important in that protocol: 'It is not right to appoint trustees for mayors without a court decision and it will be prevented',” he said.

One month after the second and final round of the presidential election, Özdağ announced that his party was promised to have three ministries, including the interior, and the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) in exchange for the support of Nation Alliance’s candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in the second round.

The fourth article in the protocol, which read “the practice of appointing state officials instead of local administrators whose links with terrorism are proven by legal evidence will continue within the framework of judicial decision” received huge criticism from Kurdish politicians and voters as they regarded the article as the continuation of the practice of appointing trustee mayors to replace Kurdish mayors.

When reminded Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu’s video, shot one day after the second round of the presidential election, in which he demanded a change within the party, Kılıçdaroğlu said “I am not saying for nothing that we have been stabbed. I know why such a demand suddenly exploded, but I don't want to prepare the ground for an unnecessary discussion.”

“I am the leader who made the biggest change in the (CHP). I have come side by side with many people that political parties have forgotten until today. CHP did not become rightist, it became populist (under my leadership),” he added.

Another topic Kılıçdaroğlu is heavily criticized for is saying yes to the regulation allowing stripping of the parliamentary immunities of the deputies in 2016, which then led to the imprisonment of senior Kurdish politicians, including Selahattin Demirtaş. 

“The AKP’s parliamentary group was already sufficient (to change the law). Why did they want to lift the immunities with a constitutional amendment? Because they set a trap for the CHP. At that time, terrorism had intensified considerably. They thought ‘let's bring the immunities here as a constitutional amendment, the CHP would say no to this,’ then they would say 'This is the party that protects terrorists' in the rallies during the elections. So we said let’s lift the immunities,” he said.

However, his move did not prevent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan linking the CHP with “terrorism” on several occasions.

Meanwhile, Kılıçdaroğlu once again criticized current CHP leader Özgür Özel for meeting with Erdoğan. “What are you going to talk about with those who don't implement the Constitutional Court's decisions? The state has ceased to be a state. A person who makes a fake video is called a fraud. What am I going to talk to him?”