The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on Monday convened for an extraordinary congress to amend party bylaws, just 24 hours after another congress in which the current party administration managed to have its proposed bylaws approved.
The CHP, which has been trying to cope with intra-party conflicts since the election of CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in May of 2010, held its 16th extraordinary party congress at the Ankara Arena Sports Hall on Sunday. The party held another congress on Monday, which was called for by opponents of the current party administration.
Both congresses were held to make improvements to the party charter and to democratize it. However, the CHP's central administration and intra-party opposition treated both meeting as an opportunity to eliminate opponents, or to at least fend off elimination of their side.
The CHP administration emerged victorious from Sunday's congress, securing the support of some 1,000 delegates for the proposed bylaws. However, the opposition camp failed to have its proposal to amend nine articles in the current party bylaw approved during Monday's congress. The amendments were rejected during the congress, which was attended by 1,031 delegates.
Monday's congress was called by Kılıçdaroğlu's opponents, who several months ago launched a campaign to hold an extraordinary congress and collected signatures from delegates. Opponents claim that the current intra-party system is undemocratic and gives too much power to the party leader.
Opponents to the current party administration succeeded in soliciting enough signatures to discuss changing the bylaws and the structure of the leadership at an extraordinary congress. But in a countermove by Kılıçdaroğlu that shocked his opponents he announced in January that he, too, would call a congress on Feb. 26, with his own agenda.