The year 2023 has had its position guaranteed in the political history of Türkiye due to the radical conversions happening in the political status quo. Primarily, Türkiye started with the public shaping the destiny as well as the future of the nation through the May 2023 elections, which were claimed to be the most critical voting process yet to be conducted. Actually, it served as a tool to raise the determinant question: “Who should go?” Despite all the controversy and uncertainty surrounding the election period, the people of Türkiye came (or feigned coming) to a conclusion. This conclusion enlightened the new horizons of the country waiting to be unveiled. To be more clear, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was reelected in spite of all the struggles of the opposition politicians, especially the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Having lost the elections for the previous 10 election years, he was incapable of completing the elections in triumph just like the other 10 previous elections, including local and general ones, since the beginning of his career in CHP as an inexperienced politician.
Subsequent to the crucial results elicited by the failure of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu arose new question marks that needed to be answered in order to understand why the opposition parties keep being beaten by the Justice and Development Party (AKP). As a result, people all around Türkiye began criticizing CHP, claiming that there must be a change to be successful due to the current administration’s defeat. Later on, the desire for change was reciprocated via the 38th CHP General Assembly.
On November 4, 2023, the members of the People’s Republican Party aggregated with the slogan “Unity and Democracy In the Second Century” in the 38th council of CHP, which aimed to listen to the public’s voice. In order to do that, an election to determine the new chairman was planned on the first day of the council. However, the election atmosphere was different than the previous congresses when the only candidate for the chairman of the party was Kılıçdaroğlu. In total, there were four candidates for nomination. These were, namely, Group President of CHP in the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye (TBMM) Özgür Özel, ex-deputy Örsan Kunter Öymen, İlhan Cihaner, and current party member Ünal Karahasan, and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
Nevertheless, candidates for nomination could only step up to being a candidate if they can get the signed approval of at least 69 delegates. The only candidates for nomination who were able to acquire a sufficient amount of written approval to be a candidate were Özgür Özel and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
Even though Kılıçdaroğlu had been the chairman of CHP for almost 13 years (2010-2023), support for Özel from numerous party members, specifically Ekrem İmamoğlu, who is the mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan City was supporting the new candidate by claiming that the administration of the party needed change. Ultimately, the election was held, but a majority in the voting procedure wasn’t ensured since there were 682 votes for Özel, whereas there were only 664 votes for Kılıçdaroğlu. Therefore, the need for a second round was apparent. Most people reportedly believed that this was a surprising change of events, as Kılıçdaroğlu had been the head of the party for 13 years. On the other hand, others thought that this was an obvious call for “change”. On the following day, the election of the party caucus and the members of the High Disciplinary Board, as well as the second round of the party president elections, were planned to be conducted.
During this election that determined the fundamental opposition party’s leader, people all around Türkiye were locked into their screens, eagerly waiting to learn the voting results. Finally, the election was finished, and it ended with 812 votes for Özel, proving his triumph.
In conclusion, not only many Turkish people but also members of the Republican People’s Party showed their awareness of the wrong-going system and indicated their will for “change” in the status quo. They are now waiting to see if Özel can prove to be “successful” in the path of pursuing CHP’s ideals.
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