The Republican People's Party, a secular, left-wing party, was established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923 within the framework of the founding of the republic. It led the Turkish opposition throughout the years of the Justice and Development Party's rule, as it is its most prominent competitor.

Origin and establishment

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk established the Republican People's Party and led it on September 9, 1923, before declaring the establishment of the Turkish Republic on October 29 of the same year.

ideological orientation

The Republican People's Party adopts what are known as "Kemalist ideas" (relative to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk), and sees itself as the heir to the values ​​of the Republic and secularism, and describes itself as a "modern social democratic party, loyal to the founding principles and values ​​of the Turkish Republic."

The Republican People's Party tried to change its political discourse starting in 2016 after the failed coup attempt, and its president, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, promised to embrace all segments of society, whatever their ideas and orientations, and publicly issued an official apology in the name of his party to the conservative segment and veiled women for the "mistakes of the past", asking them to forgive.

Ismet Inonu headed the Republican People's Party after the death of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1938 (Getty Images)

political track

After the death of Atatürk in 1938, Ismet Inonu was elected leader of the party, and there was only the Republican People’s Party on the Turkish political scene until 1946, when Turkey moved to a multi-party system, and the first general parliamentary elections were held in the country’s history, and the party won power by an overwhelming majority, but lost Elections before the Democratic Party, which was led by Adnan Menderes in 1950, and it remained in the opposition from 1950 until 1960.

With the electoral law reform that instituted proportional representation, the Republican People's Party (CHP) emerged as the first party in the 1961 general elections, forming a grand coalition alongside the AKP, the successor to the Democratic Party.

This was the first coalition government in Turkey and it lasted only 7 months, and Inonu was able to form two governments as well with other parties until the 1965 elections.

Inonu then remained leader of the opposition and the Republican People's Party until May 8, 1972, when Bulent Ecevit ousted him as party leader at a party conference.

After the 1973 elections, the party formed a coalition government with the National Safety Party, which was led by Necmettin Erbakan.

Ecevit, who was prime minister in 1974, led the Turkish military operation in Cyprus.

The CHP achieved an impressive result in the 1977 elections by obtaining 41% of the vote, and in 1978 it took over the reins of power in another coalition government.

After the military coup that took place on September 12, 1980, the military leaders closed down the party along with other political parties, and it was reopened after 12 years in 1992 under the leadership of Deniz Paykel.

But before it reopened, and in 1984 an alternative party was established under the name of the Democratic Left Party by Bulent Ecevit, and this party continued even after the re-formation of the Republican People's Party under its original name in 1992 with the participation of the majority of the members who were present in it before 1980.

In the 1995 elections, the Republican People's Party won 11% of the votes, which enabled it to win 49 seats in parliament.

After the resignation of the Welfare Coalition (the ruling Democratic Progressive Party) in the midst of what was later called the "postmodern coup" on February 28, 1998, the Republican People's Party supported a coalition government of the National Action Party, the Progressive Democratic Party and the Turkish Democratic Party, but withdrew this support Later, he helped bring down the government with a vote of no confidence.

The party failed in the 1999 elections, and was unable to pass the electoral threshold, as it obtained only 8.7% of the vote, although it won a wide majority in some provinces, so it remained outside Parliament.

The party achieved 19.39% of the votes in the 2002 elections, coming second after the Justice and Development Party, and since then, the Republican People's Party has become the main Kemalist party in Turkey after the decline of the Democratic Left Party, and it has also become the main opposition party since that time.

In the 2007 elections, the party won 112 seats, and won 20.88% of the vote, and in the 2011 elections, the percentage of votes it won was 25.98%, and the number of its deputies reached 135.

Deniz Baykal announced his resignation from the presidency of the Republican People's Party following a sex scandal (European News Agency)

On May 10, 2010, Deniz Baykal announced his resignation from the presidency of the Republican People's Party after a secret videotape involving a sex scandal was leaked, and Kemal Kilicdaroglu was elected as his successor.

The Republican People's Party and the Joint Nationalist Movement Party candidate Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu lost in the 2014 presidential elections to then-Prime Minister and Chairman of the Justice and Development Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the first round, after Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu got only 38% of the vote.

In the June 2015 legislation, the Republican People's Party won 24.96% of the vote, and managed to win 132 seats, continuing to maintain its position as the second largest party in Parliament.

After the failure to form a coalition government, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for early elections on November 1, 2015, in which the Republican People's Party ranked second with 25.38% and won 134 seats.

And after the approval of the constitutional amendment that transformed the country from the parliamentary system of government to the presidential system in 2017, which legitimized electoral alliances, the “Nation Alliance” was formed from the Republican People’s Party, the Good Party, the Democratic Party, and the Happiness Party, and the coalition ran in the general elections in 2018, in opposition to the “People’s Alliance.” Which included the ruling Justice and Development Party and its ally, the National Movement Party.

In the 2018 legislatures, the percentage of the vote for the Republican People’s Party decreased to 22%, while the “Nation Alliance” won 33% of the vote.

In the presidential elections, the candidate of the Joint Alliance for the presidency and a member of the People's Party, Muharram Ince, got only 30% of the vote.

The CHP witnessed great gains in the 2019 local elections, as it captured about 30% of the vote, and its candidates won the presidency of the municipalities of Istanbul and Ankara, which have been electoral strongholds for the Justice and Development Party since 2002, in addition to a number of other major municipalities.

In February 2022, the Republican People's Party, in conjunction with its other allies in the Nation Alliance, began remarkable meetings with two newly formed parties that split from the Justice and Development Party, namely the Future Party headed by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and the Democracy and Progress Party led by the former Deputy Prime Minister. And one of the founders of the Justice and Development Party Ali Babacan.

The meetings of the "six-party table" constituted a platform for consultation between the Turkish opposition parties, as the parties under it agreed on an electoral program based on restoring the "enhanced" parliamentary system, and announced that they would present a joint candidate for the presidential elections scheduled for 2023.