Opposition MHP dissident Meral Akşener not to run for party leadership again

Opposition MHP dissident Meral Akşener not to run for party leadership again

Opposition MHP dissident Meral Akşener not to run for party leadership again Meral Akşener, an expelled dissident member and former leadership candidate of the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP), has said she is no longer considering her candidacy for the party leadership, news website Habererk has reported.

Akşener made her comments on July 3 in the Turkish capital Ankara just before attending the wedding ceremony of daily Yeniçağ columnist Servet Avcı.

Akşener was expelled from the MHP by the party’s long-time leader, Devlet Bahçeli, after she openly declared her opposition to his policies. 

Along with a number of other MHP dissidents, Akşener was previously reported to be considering the establishment of a new political party in the coming months, but on July 3 she denied any involvement in the formation of a new party.

“He [Sinan Oğan] can put forward his candidacy [for MHP leadership] in a congress, which might take place in October or November. I respect such choices. I hope he would be successful. I would be very happy,” said Akşener, referring to Oğan, another MHP dissident, without explicitly giving his name.

“I have closed that chapter for myself,” Akşener said when asked if she herself would put forth her candidacy for the MHP chairmanship.

Oğan was expelled from the MHP in March over “acting in a way that would harm the party unity in a serious way,” “acting without discipline against the party leader and the hierarchy,” “engaging in actions that would harm party activities and encouraging others to do so” and “misusing their rights of being members and lawmakers in order to harm the party.”

Former MHP lawmakers Akşener, Oğan, Koray Aydın and Ümit Özdağ had called for an extraordinary congress and tried to run for MHP leadership last year but saw their attempt stymied by their party and the court system, under pressure from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). They were subsequently all expelled from the party. 

Bahçeli, who has been the head of the party since 1997, came under fire over the party’s poor performance in the Nov. 1, 2015 election, in which it only won 11 percent of total votes – only one percent above the threshold to enter parliament – giving it just 40 seats in parliament.