Ankara, Nov 22 () - Turkey’s parliament will elect on Nov. 22 one of its members to the chair of legislative speaker, the second most senior position in state protocol.
The deadline for applications to the post was midnight on Nov. 21, while all rounds of voting are slated to be held and completed in the general assembly on Nov. 22.
In the first two rounds of voting, successful candidates are required to gain 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 see 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 Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) won 40 seats.
AKP has nominated Istanbul deputy Ismail Kahraman as a candidate for the post, making him the likely replacement to İsmet Yılmaz, who was elected to the position after the June 7 polls. Kahraman delivered his application on Nov. 20 along with the AKP’s deputy parliamentary group chairs. The veteran AKP deputy has been a member of the party since its inception and is known to be close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Kahraman once served as minister from the now-defunct Refah (Welfare) Party, an Islamist predecessor of the AKP. In line with customs, as the second eldest member of the assembly, he sat next to Erdoğan rather than in a regular MP seat during the oath-taking ceremony on Nov. 17.
In his remarks on Nov. 20, Kahraman said “they had become accustomed to solving crises” and would look into a case involving Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Leyla Zana after the veteran politician’s oath was declared invalid by temporary speaker Deniz Baykal because she referred to the “people of Turkey” instead of the “Turkish nation.”
The CHP nominated Gülsün Bilgehan as its candidate for the post. She is the granddaughter of İsmet İnönü, the second president of Turkey. She was offered, but declined, a ministerial position by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during the formation of an interim government in August.
Yusuf Halaçoğlu, a deputy in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri and a high-profile MHP member, has already applied to run as a candidate for the post.
Yılmaz was elected as parliamentary 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 – which stemmed from a stated desire not to support anything also supported by the HDP – 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 temporarily handed over the post to Baykal, as the latter is the eldest member of the assembly.