MHP announces snap congress after top court ruling
The court ruling only required the party to hold a congress to change its regulations, but MHP leader Bahçeli fired a swift counter salvo, with his deputy Yalçın announcing that the party would hold a congress to elect a new party leader.
Yalçın said the extraordinary congress will be held either on late June or early July, and Bahçeli will be seeking re-election.
Turkey’s top appeals court approved a local court’s ruling that allows the MHP to hold an extraordinary congress called by several hundred of its members to try to oust its veteran leader.
The 18th Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals approved on May 24 an April 8 ruling by the Ankara 12nd Civil Court of Peace which was delivered upon appeals by dissident MHP members to force an extraordinary party congress and unseat long-time party leader Devlet Bahçeli.
“A decision to take the MHP to extraordinary congress, yet with an agenda for electing the party leader, has been taken,” MHP Deputy Chair Semih Yalçın said at a press conference held within hours after the top court released its decision.
The MHP was originally scheduled to hold its next party congress in March 2018.
Polls suggest the removal of Bahçeli could lead to a surge in support for the party, the fourth largest in parliament after the Nov. 1, 2015, snap elections in which the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) replaced it as the third largest party. According to polls, such a surge may weaken President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chances of securing strong parliamentary support for the introduction of a full presidential system.
‘A dead well’
In the morning hours, addressing his party’s parliamentary group before the Supreme Court of Appeals announced its approval of the extraordinary congress decision, Bahçeli described the ruling party’s plans for a “presidential system” as “a deep well,” while underlining that they are vigilant of the “extreme costs” of both the presidential system and the highly touted “partisan president” model.
“As the Nationalist Movement Party, we are both prepared and determined to defend Turkey’s historical rights and interests, to eliminate deficiencies and to repair destruction,” Bahçeli said May 24.
“However, we have neither the will nor the appetite to drink water from the well, like the presidential system, the bottom of which is not seen,” Bahçeli said, addressing the parliamentary group of his party, referring to new Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s declaration of his commitment to boosting efforts to adopt a presidential system as part of the new constitution in line with Erdoğan’s desires.