Kılıçdaroğlu re-elected leader of main opposition party

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was re-elected on Saturday at the party’s 36th congress held in the capital, Ankara.

Kılıçdaroğlu received 790 out of 1,237 valid votes, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.

The second candidate for party leadership, Muharrem İnce, a lawmaker from northwestern Yalova province, secured 447 votes, it said.

İnce, a former deputy group chairman of the party, also ran for the chairmanship against Kılıçdaroğlu in the 2014 party congress, where 740 delegates voted for Kılıçdaroğlu while İnce secured 415 votes, AA said.

Kılıçdaroğlu has been leading the party since May 2010.

The two other candidates were the former Istanbul Bar Association Chair Ümit Kocasakal and Ömer Faruk Eminağaoğlu, a previous head of the Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV).

But Kılıçdaroğlu is also challenged by globalist and progressive intra-party opposition. Selin Sayek Böke, a former World Bank economist and an academic with strong credentials, questions the ideological stance of the party and the quality of inner party democracy.

Böke has long been a target of Turkey’s Islamist ruling party media as her father was a Christian Arab from the multicultural Antakya region.