İYİ Party leader Akşener to keep top party title after elections
Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener said she would hold her title as the party head, speaking in Ankara on June 26 for the first time since the June 24 elections, which took place under an ongoing state of emergency.
“Our [General Executive Board] has decided for the İYİ Party, which has placed itself in the center of Turkish politics, to continue walking before my leadership,” she said at a press conference.
“I thank them for their trust,” she added.
Akşener said she convened with the board after the June 24 snap elections in which the parliament was reshaped and the president was renamed. However, she did not mention the bias her party has faced from the media during the campaign process.
“The view of the [board] is the results are a win, in that they have helped increase a sense of hope for our country and our nation despite the tough conditions and limitations [the party] has faced,” she said.
Akşener was barely under the spotlight in the 50-day period running up to the snap elections, which were rescheduled to June 24 following a surprise call made by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on April 18.
As a single example, and despite criticism pouring in from parties, organizations and tax-paying citizens, state broadcaster TRT showed 181 hours of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and a total of three hours of Akşener during the whole campaign period.
In the party’s first face-off on Sunday, the İYİ Party made it to parliament with 44 representatives and received 10 percent of the total of the 59 million votes as part of the “Nation Alliance,” an electoral agreement made with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) along with the Felicity Party (SP), the Democrat Party (DP), and the Patriotic Party (VP).
Turkey has a much-criticized 10 percent parliamentary threshold—a barrier that leaves parties outdoors unless they score one-tenth of the total votes.
“We now have representatives in the Turkish Parliament. We will give a more visible and more efficient fight with our group,” Akşener said, having passed the threshold.
“We are only beginning our honorable march,” she said.
No new name in politics, Akşener has MHP roots
In 1995 from Istanbul and in 1999 from Kocaeli, Meral Akşener entered parliament as a deputy for the True Path Party (DYP). She was later nominated and elected as Istanbul deputy in the 2007, 2011, and 2015 general elections from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
For eight months, Akşener worked as interior minister in the 54th government, and during the 23rd and 24th parliaments she was the vice-speaker of parliament.
After unsuccessfully challenging MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli for the party leadership, Akşener quit the party in 2016 and announced the establishment of the İYİ Party on Oct. 25, 2017, after which she became the party leader.
The party fully supported the president-elect Erdoğan in the presidential race as well.