CHP’s ex-presidential candidate says starting new movement that could evolve into party

Muharrem İnce, the candidate for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the 2018 presidential election, said that he is starting a new social movement that could potentially evolve into a political party, Habertürk news outlet reported on Sunday.

İnce has been the focus this month of a number of reports in Turkish media, which claim the former CHP presidential candidate is looking to form a breakaway opposition party after being sidelined by the CHP in last month’s party congress.

“I am not founding a party,’’ İnce told Habertürk columnist Fatih Altaylı. “I am setting out on a path with the people (of Turkey)... I don’t know whether this movement will evolve into a party or whether parties will follow suit with this movement.’’ 

İnce said he would be meeting with the working class in the east and north of Turkey and “entrusting himself “to the people of Turkey. 

The former CHP presidential candidate expressed his disappointment with being left out of the spotlight in the CHP congress on July 25, where he was assigned back row seat while other CHP officials, such as Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and Istanbul Provincial Chairwoman Canan Kaftancıoğlu were celebrated.

“Of course I am offended,’’ İnce said. “But I am not someone to do something as childish as establishing a party because I was upset that I was seated in the back.’’

İnce received over 31 percent of the vote in the June 24, 2018 presidential elections, losing to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but accomplishing a first for Turkey's oldest party in 41 years by surpassing 30 percent. 

“I left at 31 percent. And now I am heading out on a path to increase my support to 51 percent,’’ İnce said.

The 56-year-old currently holds no formal position with the CHP and has, for the most part, remained out of the public eye since the presidential poll in 2018.