Candidates ready to compete in first round for parliament speaker’s office
ANKARAHours before Turkey’s newly elected parliament was scheduled to gather on June 30 to elect a new speaker, candidates resumed visits to party leaders to seek support for their bids, while the legitimacy of one candidate was questioned and two of the four parties in parliament refused to visit each other’s candidate.
Meanwhile, acting Parliamentary Speaker Deniz Baykal of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced that he would chair the plenary session, yet would not cast a vote as he is running for the post after having been nominated by his party.
There is no legal and political practice as well as no practice stemming from customs which would prevent him from presiding over the plenary session, Baykal told reporters, while speaking in his hometown and constituency Antalya on June 29.
There is also no legal obstacle prohibiting him from casting a vote because he is a candidate, Baykal added.
“Although there is no legal obstacle, in order to prevent any hesitance in anyone’s minds, as well as any ethical problem, I will not cast a vote at tomorrow’s session,” he said.
In the first two rounds of voting scheduled for June 30, candidates are required to get the support of at least 367 members of parliament in the 550-seat assembly. In a third round of voting on July 1, a minimum of 276 votes is needed. In the fourth and final round, the candidate with the most votes will be elected speaker.
Acting in unity and number of seats
In Ankara, CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Levent Gök voiced reservations about the nomination of incumbent Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz from the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Speaking at a press conference, Gök underlined the differences between a deputy and a minister as Turkey has been governed by the principles of parliamentary democracy, which is based on the separation of powers.
“Mr. İsmet Yılmaz, who has been nominated by members from the AKP, is part of the executive body. According to political ethics, as part of the executive body, Mr. İsmet Yılmaz should have been nominated after he resigned from the Defense Ministry,” Gök said June 29.
“We believe that Yılmaz’s candidacy process is not in line with democratic customs, political ethics and parliamentary democracy,” he said.
The AKP has 258 seats, the CHP has 132, while the MHP and the HDP have 80 seats apiece.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu hosted both the MHP’s candidate, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, and the HDP’s candidate, Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, on June 29, while CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also hosted İhsanoğlu and Fırat.
“I am sure that all members of parliament will make conscionable decisions on Tuesday and Wednesday,” İhsanoğlu told reporters following his 20-minute meeting with Davutoğlu which he described as “extremely sincere and productive.”
İhsanoğlu declined to respond when asked whether he would visit the HDP following his 30-minute meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu. “Thank you, friends,” he just said.
In a recent interview, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said they had been considering “the HDP’s presence in parliament as dead,” and left no room for visits between the two parties by their candidates.
“It is not possible to understand the MHP. I suppose they are upset that with its 80 deputies, the HDP got the same number of seats as them, but the process is long,” Fırat told reporters following his 45-minute meeting with Davutoğlu. “We believe that they will eventually accept it,” he added.
“I thank them in this case. Perhaps, it goes on and the way for the speaker’s office opens for us because when you offer so many opportunities in politics, it would be difficult to reverse it,” Fırat said when asked about speculations that 60 deputies from the AKP would lend support to him in the third round in order to eliminate Baykal.
“We will see it all together on Wednesday but I believe that there will be no resort to such methods,” Fırat said, when asked the same question after his meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu.