HDP elects Buldan, Temelli as new co-heads

HDP elects Buldan, Temelli as new co-heads

HDP elects Buldan, Temelli as new co-heads

The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) elected Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli on Feb. 11 as its new co-leaders in the party’s third ordinary convention held in the absence of former HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş and six other lawmakers, who are under arrest.

“We are taking an open stance for peace in the homeland and abroad. We defend peace,” Buldan said on Feb. 11 in Ankara in her speech as a candidate.

“The year 2018 will be a year when the HDP will contribute to the struggle of peace and democracy,” Temelli said.

Apart from its co-leaders, the party also elected its 100-member party council.

As a coalition of several political parties, HDP elects its co-leaders to represent both Turkey’s left and Kurdish political movements, while also carrying out a gender equality policy by electing one man and one woman to the posts.

Buldan has been a lawmaker since 2007 and serves as a deputy parliamentary speaker.

She was a key figure in the peace process between Ankara and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2009 and 2015, as a part of the delegation that carried out meetings with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence in the İmralı island prison.

She is also known as the wife of Kurdish businessman Savaş Buldan, who was the victim of an unsolved murder in 1994.

Temelli, an academic dismissed from his post at Istanbul University with a state of emergency decree, has been the party’s deputy leader since 2013.

Before joining the HDP in 2009, he was a member of the socialist Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP).

He is also known to be defending constitutional change under the “Not enough, but yes” movement in 2010 that paved the way for the president to be elected by the public.

Even though Buldan and Temelli’s names have been put forward as sole co-leader nominees by the party’s “negotiation commission,” more than 70 signatures have been collected to present the party’s jailed co-leader Demirtaş as a candidate.

Demirtaş had already announced he will not be a candidate and reiterated his decision with a letter read at the convention.

“I regard it as a part of my political and moral responsibility to transfer my post to new friends,” Demirtaş said in the letter.