MHP’s candidate announced as first runner for parliament speaker post

MHP’s candidate announced as first runner for parliament speaker post

MHP’s candidate announced as first runner for parliament speaker post

MHP Kayseri deputy Yusuf Halaçoğlu (R). AA Photo

Soon after taking his oath with other members of the newly elected national assembly on Nov. 17, a high-profile Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy has applied to run as a candidate for the post of parliament speaker, Turkey’s second most senior position in state protocol.

MHP Kayseri deputy Yusuf Halaçoğlu’s application to become the speaker of Turkey’s 26th term of parliament for the next two years was filed to the secretariat of the assembly on Nov. 18, signed by MHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Oktay Vural and MHP Secretary-General İsmet Büyükataman.

The deadline for applications to the post is midnight on Nov. 21 and all rounds of voting are planned to be held and completed at the general assembly on Nov. 22.

In the first two rounds of voting, successful candidates are required to have the support of at least 367 MPs in the 550-seat assembly. In a third round of voting, a minimum of 276 votes is needed. If a fourth and final round is necessary, the candidate with the highest number of votes is elected speaker. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which holds 317 seats according to the results of the Nov. 1 general election, is expected to get its candidate elected in the third round.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) won 134 seats in the election, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) won 59 seats, and the MHP won 40 seats.

Istanbul deputy İsmail Kahraman and Sivas deputy İsmet Yılmaz are being cited as potential parliament speaker candidates from the AKP. Kahraman is a veteran member of the party since its inception and is known to be close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Kahraman, who once served as minister from the now-defunct Refah (Welfare) Party, an Islamist predecessor of the AKP, sat next to Erdoğan rather than in a regular MP seat during the oath-taking-ceremony on Nov. 17.

Yılmaz was elected as parliament speaker during the fourth and final round of voting on July 1, held after the June 7 parliamentary election. His victory in the vote came thanks to the MHP’s decision not to vote for the CHP’s candidate, Deniz Baykal, meaning that the support of the CHP with 50 votes of the HDP was insufficient to elect Baykal.

The MHP’s indirect support for the AKP’s candidate drew fierce criticism from both the CHP and the HDP at the time, with the two accusing the party of serving as a “crutch” of the ruling party. 

Ahead of the oath-taking ceremony on Nov. 17 and in line with customs, Yılmaz has temporarily handed over the post to Baykal as the eldest member of the assembly. 

This time around, the CHP is expected to nominate for the parliament speaker post either Akif Hamzaçebi or İlhan Kesici, both of whom are deputies for Istanbul.