Former CHP leader instigates debate over parliament election speaker process

Former CHP leader instigates debate over parliament election speaker process

Former CHP leader instigates debate over parliament election speaker process

AFP photo

Statements by a veteran member of parliament, Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Deniz Baykal, who recently lost his run for parliament speaker’s office, led to disagreements over incidents leading up to the election of the speaker, which was finalized last week with the election of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate, İsmet Yılmaz.

Speaking in an interview with CNN Türk late July 6, Baykal, the CHP’s previous leader, said a senior executive from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had informed the CHP that his group would support Baykal’s candidacy in the elections. According to Baykal’s account, the MHP’s Yusuf Halaçoğlu contacted the CHP’s Deputy Parliamentary Group Speaker Levent Gök after the second round of elections, saying they would “leave their group free” and pave the way for Baykal’s election.

Yet, Baykal’s remarks were immediately denied by Halaçoğlu, who then immediately joined the television program via telephone.

“I definitely did not have such contact with Levent Gök,” Halaçoğlu told speaker of the program.
Soon after Halaçoğlu, Gök also called the program. 

Gök said that Halaçoğlu had told him that if the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not openly announce their support Baykal, there would be no problem, Gök said. 

Amidst the parliament speaker election, the MHP made clear they would not support any candidate other than their own if the other candidate received the support of the HDP, as the MHP has strongly asserted that they consider “the HDP’s presence in parliament dead.”

During the fourth and final round of elections on July 1, the victory for Yılmaz came, thanks to the MHP’s decision not to vote for Baykal. The support of the CHP, as well as the HDP’s 50 votes, was insufficient to elect Baykal, the temporary speaker of the parliament, for the country’s number two place in state protocol. 

The MHP’s indirect support for the AKP’s candidate drew fierce criticisms from both the CHP and HDP, which accused the nationalist party of acting like the crutch of the ruling party. The two opposition party executives also implied that such a composition revealed the potential partners of a coalition government.