Pervin Buldan expected to replace jailed HDP co-chair Demirtaş in upcoming party congress
Pervin Buldan, the deputy parliament speaker and Iğdır lawmaker from the Kurdish-issue focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has emerged as a likely candidate to replace jailed HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş in the party’s upcoming congress scheduled for Feb. 11.
A special commission set up to select candidates to replace Demirtaş and the party’s other co-leader Serpil Kemalbay has completed its task.
The commission has decided to pick Buldan as a candidate to replace Demirtaş, who has already said he would not nominate himself for the party’s leadership.
Demirtaş was arrested on Nov. 4, 2016 along with 10 other HDP members as part of an investigation on terror allegations.
The first hearing of the case was finally held after 13 months of pre-trial detention in December 2017, with the prosecutors demanding up to 142 years in jail for “leadership of a terrorist organization,” “membership of a terrorist organization” and “inciting people to hatred and animosity.”
The special commission has not made a final decision on possible candidates to replace Kemalbay, but the party’s current co-deputy leaders Sezai Temelli and Saruhan Oluç have emerged as frontrunners.
The HDP is expected to announce the names of candidates on Feb. 7 or Feb. 8.
On Feb. 6, Ferhat Encü lost his parliamentary seat as HDP deputy after being convicted of terrorism charges.
Deputy Parliament Speaker Yaşar Tüzün announced Encü’s removal by showing lawmakers a letter from the Prime Minister’s Office showing Encü’s conviction.
According to Turkey’s Constitution, any conviction on terrorism charges prohibits parliamentary deputyship.
Encü was arrested on Nov. 6, 2016 and was sentenced to four years and seven months on charges including “terror propaganda” on June 9, 2017. His appeal against the conviction was also rejected.
Following Encü’s removal, the HDP now holds 52 seats in the 550-seat parliament. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) holds 316 seats and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has 131 seats.