Jun 26 2018

Unrest mounts among main opposition supporters as Kılıçdaroğlu’s clings to leadership

Updated to correct an error in the article - the CHP's 2011 tweet was not retweeted by the party's own account.

Cracks are showing in Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) after a performance in last Sunday’s parliamentary election viewed by many as disappointing, winning just 22.6 percent of the vote.

The party’s presidential candidate Muharrem İnce won 30.6 percent in the presidential election with millions more votes than the CHP’s parliamentary tally, yet CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s statement on Tuesday criticised İnce’s performance and indicated no intention to relinquish his position despite eight years of defeat as party chairman.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s poor showing and stubborn grasp on the CHP’s reins has already led to unrest among some party figures, including new deputy Gürsel Erol, who called on the party administration to resign on Monday.

Erol has since announced via Twitter that he will conduct a sit-in protest in front of the CHP’s general headquarters on Wednesday at 11AM.

Eren Erdem, a former deputy and close ally of Muharrem İnce, also called for Kılıçdaroğlu to resign, tweeting a scathing criticism of the CHP leader’s eight-year electoral record compared to that of İnce, who won more votes than Kılıçdaroğlu ever had after just 45 days of campaigning.

It was a sentiment apparently shared by the CHP's official Twitter account back in Jun. 2011, when it tweeted that a party leader who leads the party through a period losing votes should resign.

“This is the rule of democracy,” read the tweet, which was deleted shortly after Twitter users began to retweet it again after Sunday's election. However, it remained online long enough to press a point that will be painful for Kılıçdaroğlu; the CHP’s share of the vote has barely passed 25 percent under his leadership, and in Sunday’s election it dropped several percent conpared to the previous election in November 2015.

Many CHP supporters have joined the calls for Kılıçdaroğlu’s resignation, and a call for protests outside CHP offices at 8 p.m. (GMT +2) on Tuesday evening was circulated on social media under the hashtag #Saat20deCHPönüne.

A small crowd assembled outside the CHP’s headquarters in Ankara, braving poor weather to call for the party leader to stand down.