The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) re-elected Canan Kaftancıoğlu as its Istanbul provincial head during a party congress on Feb. 9.
Kaftancıoğlu was the only person who put forward her candidacy for the position, which was criticized by some party members, who found the process as “undemocratic.” During her speech, Kaftancıoğlu said: “I wish it was a congress with multiple candidates.”
Some 571 delegates out of a total 677 cast their ballots during the voting process. Out of the 510 valid votes, Kaftancıoğlu was re-elected with 444 votes.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the CHP, held a speech during the congress on Feb. 9, saying the “change taking place in Istanbul will change whole Turkey.”
“There are special times when the history speeds up. In such special times, things that are thought to be unchanging do change. And people feel compelled to think differently and act differently; and with the March 31 and July 23 elections, Turkey has entered such a period,” İmamoğlu said.
İmamoğlu was referring to the local elections on March 31, 2019 as well as the re-run of Istanbul's mayoral election on July 23, 2019.
Kaftancıoğlu been credited as the person behind İmamoğlu's election win in Istanbul. The CHP's victory ended the 25 year-rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its predecessor Welfare (“Refah”) Party in Istanbul.
In September of 2019, Kaftancıoğlu was sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison for old tweets that allegedly spread terrorist propaganda. The CHP has said the conviction is politically motivated and is a “revenge” for the AKP's loss in Istanbul as the trial began shortly after İmamoğlu's re-run win.
Kaftancıoğlu appealed the conviction and has not been imprisoned during this appeal process.