Turkey’s main opposition re-elects Kilicdaroglu as chairman

Turkey’s main opposition party, CHP, re-elects Kemal Kilicdaroglu as chairman fourth time at CHP's 35th Annual Congress

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu delivers a speech during the 35th General assembly of CHP at Ankara Sports Hall in Ankara, Turkey on January 16, 2016.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu was re-elected on Saturday with 990 votes out of 1,238 delegates that casted their ballots during the party’s 35th Annual Congress held in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Thirty-seven out of 1,275 delegates did not cast their votes and a total of 248 votes were declared invalid.

CHP is the biggest opposition party in Turkey with 134 members in the 550-seated Turkish parliament. Kilicdaroglu has been leading the party since May 2010.

Speaking at the congress, Kilicdaroglu called for constitutional change but without the presidential system supported by the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

“I call on the chairman of AK Party,” Kilicdaroglu said, referring to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. “If you want a liberal democracy in this country, let’s change the legal order of the 1980 coup. This constitution is a part of it. If we change this, we will bring democracy."

However, he added: “Their intent is not to remove the legal order of the coup. They intend to strengthen it. They say ‘It is not enough for us, we will bring the presidential system’. What kind of presidency? Just like in the US?"

“They want a presidential system with a boss. Everyone knows that we will never let them do this,” Kilicdaroglu continued.

After returning to power as a result of November’s snap election, PM Davutoglu has held talks with opposition parties to discuss replacing the 1982 constitution introduced by the military and introduce a presidential system supported by AK Party.

While the opposition parties support the constitutional change, they all oppose replacing Turkey’s parliamentary system with a presidential model.

Although the AK Party regained its majority in November, it does not have enough deputies to make constitutional change without opposition support.

TRTWorld, AA