MHP leader Bahçeli keeps door ajar for coalition with AKP

MHP leader Bahçeli keeps door ajar for coalition with AKP

MHP leader Bahçeli keeps door ajar for coalition with AKP

DHA photo

The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has become key to the imminent election of Turkey’s new parliament speaker, has left the door open to forming a coalition government with the Justice and Development Party (AKP), while defining three strict preconditions for such an agreement.

Bahçeli’s addressed newly elected MHP deputies on July 1, just hours before a plenary session was due to take place at parliament in which the new speaker would be finalized, as none of the four candidates were able to get a minimum number of votes required for election in the first two rounds on June 30. 

He suggested that the result of the parliament speaker election would be decisive in the potential forming of a coalition government, describing a coalition between the AKP and the CHP as the “most likely” formation. But he also added that the MHP would not close the door “if all alternatives are exhausted.” 

“If political instability arises, with God’s permission, we wouldn’t avoid responsibility and force Turkey to be dependent on craven ones,” Bahçeli said. 

However, the MHP head defined three strict conditions for any coalition: An end to the Kurdish peace process, the return of Erdoğan to within his constitutional boundaries, and pursuing the now-dropped Dec. 17 and 25, 2013 corruption cases, which embroiled former government officials and their relatives.

Speaking to reporters after the group meeting, Bahceli repeated his vow that the MHP’s parliamentary group would refuse to vote in the same bloc as the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the third and fourth round of voting for the new parliament speaker. 

“The MHP will support our candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu to the end by being present during all votes … We will vote for our candidate in the fourth round too. All 80 deputies will be present during the vote. You might ask, ‘What will you do if İhsanoğlu is not one of the final two candidates?’ Well that means 80 invalid votes will be cast,” he told reporters.

“The CHP [the Republican People’s Party] will face a test of consistency during the parliament speaker election. I believe that honorable members of parliament will vote in favor of experience and Mr. İhsanoğlu will be elected as the 26th speaker of parliament,” Bahçeli said, referring to the fact that İhsanoğlu was the MHP’s joint candidate with the CHP in the August 2014 presidential election, won by incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

He also repeated that forming a bloc with the CHP and the HDP for a coalition government was “impossible” for the MHP, blasting CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for his offer of the prime minister’s seat and describing the proposal as “a plot” against his party. 

As for the HDP, Bahçeli reiterated his uncompromising approach, saying he considered “the HDP’s presence in parliament as dead.”

Meanwhile, HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said on July 1 the MHP’s attitude in regard to the parliament speaker election was a sign of which direction the coalition talks will go. 

“The MHP is presenting the parliament speaker post to the AKP with their hands. It seems that the coalition will continue on this path. A coalition government of the AKP and the MHP would be legitimate but it wouldn’t be sustainable,” Demirtaş told reporters.