Ruling AKP’s candidate Mustafa Şentop elected Turkish parliament speaker

Ruling AKP’s candidate Mustafa Şentop elected Turkish parliament speaker

Ruling AKP’s candidate Mustafa Şentop elected Turkish parliament speaker

Turkish Grand National Assembly’s new speaker was elected on Feb. 24 to replace resigning Binali Yıldırım, who is now running for Istanbul mayor in the upcoming March 31 local elections.

The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate Mustafa Şentop got 336 votes out of 600 seats in parliament in the third round of the election, qualifying to be the 29th speaker of the Turkish parliament.

“Today, the trust of our glorious nation has appeared in the form of the votes cast by the honorable assembly. Your assistance will help me in discharging this heavy responsibility,” Şentop said in his address to the general assembly immediately after the voting.

Şentop’s main rival Engin Altay, deputy group chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), received 124 votes.

They were followed by the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) candidate Serpil Kemalbay Pekgözegü with 46 votes and the İYİ (Good) Party’s nominee İmam Hüseyin Filiz with 33 votes. Three votes were declared invalid.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), represented in parliament with 49 MPs, endorsed the AKP’s candidate as part of its “People’s Alliance” with the ruling party.

AKP has 291 seats in parliament whereas MHP holds 49 seats. Main opposition CHP has 142 deputies and is followed by HDP with 65 and İYİ Party with 39 lawmakers. Each of the Felicity (Saadet) Party and the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) have two seats. The Democrat Party (DP) and the Grand Unity Party (BBP) are represented with one seat each. Three independent lawmakers also have seats in parliament.

Sentop, 51, was elected as MP from the northwestern province of Tekirdağ in June 24, 2018 elections. He earned a bachelor degree at the Istanbul University Faculty of Law and obtained Master and Doctorate degrees from Istanbul’s Marmara University.

The first and second round of voting in the election for parliament speaker yielded no clear result, as all four candidates failed to secure the required two-thirds majority to win.

According to the Turkish constitution, at least 401 out of 600 deputies’ votes were needed to be elected parliament speaker. In a third round of voting, a minimum of 301 votes was needed.

Former parliament speaker Yıldırım announced his resignation late Feb. 18 to submit his candidacy for Istanbul mayor. He handed over the office to interim Parliament Speaker Celal Adan of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on Feb. 19.

Meanwhile, the head of the parliament planning and budget committee Süreyya Sadi Bilgiç will replace Şentop as deputy speaker of parliament.

AKP’s deputy chair Lütfü Elvan will be the new head of the planning and budget committee replacing Bilgiç.

The general assembly of parliament is set to convene on March 12.