MHP extraordinary congress to go ahead on July 10, Bahçeli to run again
DHA photoThe embattled Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has announced a date for an extraordinary party congress, at which MHP dissidents aim to unseat the long-time head of the party.
The party will hold a congress to elect its leader on July 10 and Bahçeli will run to be reelected, the MHP leader said in a written statement on May 25.
His announcement came one day after MHP deputy leader Semih Yalçın declared that the congress would be held in July, hours after Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals approved a local court’s decision for the MHP to hold a congress.
The court ruling only required the party to hold a congress to change its regulations, but MHP leader Bahçeli fired a swift counter salvo, announcing that the party would hold a congress to elect a new leader.
He said on May 25 that the MHP administration had made the decision to “put an end to the debate” and to “prevent any harm to party unity.”
Party dissidents failed to hold a controversial extraordinary party congress due to police security measures in front of an Ankara venue that was to host the gathering on May 15, after days of contradicting verdicts by lower local courts.
Former MHP lawmakers Meral Akşener, Sinan Oğan, Koray Aydın and Ümit Özdağ, who have voiced their intention to run for the party leadership, had tried to reach the venue to hold the congress but were blocked by the police.
The dissidents criticize Bahçeli, who has been the MHP head since 1997, over the party’s poor showing in the Nov. 1, 2015 election, in which it only won 11 percent of the vote and 40 seats in parliament.