The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has announced its top three priorities for 2018, which include becoming a more inclusive party for different segments of the society, making in-house changes, and getting prepared for triple elections set to take place in 2019, a top CHP official has said.
“2018 will be a year we work to provide more extensive social unity, to ensure structural transformation in the party organization, and to prepare both the country and the party for the upcoming elections,” CHP deputy leader and spokesperson Bülent Tezcan told daily Hürriyet on Jan. 1.
Turkey will hold local elections in March 2019 and simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2019. Constitutional amendments approved in the April 2017 referendum which has granted extensive powers to the president will fully be in effect after the presidential elections.
The CHP objects to the constitutional amendments, arguing that granting such extensive powers to the president will destroy the democratic principle of the separation of powers between legislation, execution and the judiciary. CHP officials describe the new system as a “one-man regime.”
Tezcan said the referendum had gathered different segments of the society who objected to the changes in Turkey’s governance, adding that the CHP will aim to become an adhesive force to keep the unity strong.
He said CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s “justice march,” a 450-km walk from Ankara to Istanbul initiated after CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu was jailed in June, had also facilitated such consolidation and later gathered thousands in the northeastern province of Çanakkale for the “justice congress” in August.
“2018 will be a year in which this movement will have a physical existence. Joint fields and platforms will be developed with the organized groups that have opposed the one-man regime,” Tezcan said.
“We give importance to large civil society gatherings. It is not a party alliance. It is an alliance of politics. We will develop projects that will foster developing a common language, aims and expectations. We will provide the most wide-ranging agreement that Turkey needs,” he added.
He said the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) political ambitions were not sustainable, calling the government a “sinking boat.”
“Our call for those who are in the same boat as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is to leave that boat immediately,” he said.
Tezcan stated that the main opposition party will accelerate its preparations for the 2019 elections in 2018 “as if there will be an election tomorrow.”
“The names of the candidates for the local elections and the programs will be publicized mid-2018,” he said.
He said the CHP will adopt a more unifying election rhetoric, adding that “Turkey in 2018 needs to stay away from a climate of conflict and polarization.”
Hurriyet Day News
Rifat Başaran – ANKARA