Court orders opposition MHP to hold extraordinary party congress

Court orders opposition MHP to hold extraordinary party congress

Court orders opposition MHP to hold extraordinary party congress

AA photo

An Ankara court has accepted the demands of dissident Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) members to force an extraordinary party congress, appointing a three-member panel, consisting of Mehmet Bilgiç, Ayhan Erel and Ali Sağır, to organize the congress. 

“They used the jurisdiction way, now we are going to start to use it. We will appeal against the decision,” MHP leader Bahçeli said on April 8, after the court’s ruling. Speaking to journalists, Bahçeli added that the party’s next congress would be on the scheduled day, which is on March 18, 2018 and the extraordinary congress “won’t be held.”

“The attempt to appoint a trustee panel to a party in the parliament is a ruling that is surprising. We don’t see the court’s ruling as the right decision and result in terms of law. We will appeal against the decision and will take it to an upper court,” MHP Deputy Chairman Semih Yalçın said on CNN Türk.  

The party members filled the corridors of the courthouse before the first hearing was held. Only the lawyers of the parties involved in the case were allowed in the courtroom, while journalists were barred from entering.

The police took security measures in front of the courthouse and in the corridor.

Speaking to journalists about the court’s decision, one of the former MHP lawmakers who expressed his intention to run for party leadership, Sinan Oğan, urged Bahçeli to summon all the candidates and create a consultation mechanism. 

“According to MHP’s bylaw, an absolute majority is needed in the first round, which means more than 600 votes are needed. I think the mergers will be in the second or third rounds. The person who gets the most of the votes in the third round will win. Mergers will definitely take place. We trust ourselves and we think that we will come out of the congress with success. There certainly won’t be a fight in our congress. We’ll start our preparations for the walk to the government,” Oğan said.

Speaking about Yalçın’s comments on the appeal against the decision, Oğan said that the appeal would not stop the implementation of the decision from happening. “The MHP will organize its congress in May,” Oğan said. 

Another former MHP lawmaker who expressed her intention to run for the party leadership, Meral Akşener, commented on the decision on Twitter via writing “Justice is the basis of the state,” while posting a picture of the justice symbol. 

Koray Aydın, who also intends to run for the party leadership, praised the court’s decision and said it was a “serious contribution” to Turkish democratic life and the principle of the autonomy of the judiciary.  

Since the Nov. 1, 2015, election, in which the MHP only gained around 11 percent of the votes and won 40 seats in parliament, party dissidents have been criticizing Bahçeli and collected enough delegate votes to hold an extraordinary convention to change the party’s leadership.

Former MHP lawmakers Akşener, Oğan, Aydın and Ümit Özdağ have already expressed their intention to run for the party leadership, but their attempts to hold a convention were stopped by party headquarters. 

The call for an extraordinary convention was recently taken to court for a final decision.