World Bulletin / News Desk
Kemal Kilicdaroglu announced Monday he was running for chairman of Turkey's main secularist opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) in the upcoming congress after its leader resigned over a sex scandal.
Appearing at a press conference at the HQs of his party in Ankara, Kilicdaroglu said he resigned as deputy chairman of CHP's parliamentary group and was running for chairman of CHP.
Anadolu news agency reported that Kilicdaroglu said "CHP was a party of a deep-rooted political tradition of 90 years and surely could not be expected to be left without a leader."
"We have to foil plots and conspiracies and break the seige around CHP. We need to give an end to the era of fear, theft. We shall cry out that we will overcome unemployment and desperation and inspire hope in our people. And most important of all, we should at once make preparations in order to come to power with the votes of our peoples in the upcoming general elections," said Kilicdaroglu.
Former chairman Deniz Baykal resigned last week, a couple of days after the scandalous appearance of an alleged footage featuring him having an affair with a female CHP deputy who was his ex-secretary.
The video purporting to show him in a bedroom with his female colleague had been posted on the Internet.
Baykal resigned of his post on Monday after a video tape allegedly featuring him having an affair with a female deputy of CHP was released on a video-sharing web-site..
"Change after scandal"
He said that with the power of the support of the party organization, voters and the general public he was running as chairman of CHP at weekend's party congress.
He said he planned on building a "more democratic party structure" that inspired confidence in the cadres of the party.
Kilicdaroglu, born in 1948 in eastern province of Tunceli, ran for mayor of Istanbul in the local elections of March 2009, but lost against Justice and Development (AK) Party's Kadir Topbas. He won 36.8% of all votes.
CHP's Secretary General Onder Sav and Deputy Parliamentary Group Chairman Kemal Anadol announced that they were extending full support to Kilicdaroglu's nomination.
A group of CHP deputies will hold a press conference at the parliament on Monday to extend support to Kilicdaroglu.
"I hereby announce that I will run for the party leadership at the 33rd CHP General Congress on May 22," he added.
Baykal argued that the tape was a "conspiracy" before resigning saying that he was leaving the post to enable a change in CHP. Baykal is married with two children.
The 71-year-old Baykal led the CHP since 1992. Critics say Baykal's domination of the CHP had stifled chances for younger politicians who could have made the party more progressive and appealing to Turkish voters.
The country's next election is due by July 2011, when the AK Party will seek a third term in power.