Ankara discusses diverse figures for next Parliament speaker

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
Published 09.06.2015 23:06

Possible candidates for the next Parliament speaker is being discussed following the recent general election results. As the winner of Sunday's elections, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will seek a coalition partner since it could not receive sufficient seats to form a government single-handedly. The AK Party will also need support from a coalition partner in order to assign an AK Party candidate as the new Parliament speaker. Until the election of a speaker of Parliament, the eldest deputy will assume the role. The oldest member of the chamber, 77-year-old former CHP Chairman Deniz Baykal, will act as the speaker of Parliament. In this regard, it is also reportedly being discussed for Baykal to be the permanent speaker.

As Baykal is the former CHP chairman, whether his stance as Parliament speaker would be neutral or not is also being discussed. In addition to Baykal, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, who was the joint presidential candidate of the CHP and MHP, is also among the possible candidates for the next Parliament speaker. Due to being the former joint candidate for the CHP and MHP, İhsanoğlu's chances are believed to be higher than Baykal in the Parliament speaker elections. As the AK Party is not be able to assign a Parliament speaker alone, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) could play a key role for opposition parties to assign a speaker without AK Party votes. Alongside the aforementioned figures, Education Minister Nabi Avcı and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş from the AK Party are expected to be announced as a candidate as well.

Though former speaker of Parliament Ayşenur Bahçekapılı has been discussed as a possible candidate, her stance toward opposition parties during talks regarding the new Domestic Security Reform Package lowers her chances. Additionally to Bahçekapılı, former Interior Minister Meral Akşener and Parliamentary Justice Commission head Ahmet İyimaya are among the possibilities. If the opposition parties seek to elect a Parliament speaker with support from the HDP, it has been reported that HDP deputies would not be in favor of Baykal, but instead would prefer figures such as CHP Vice Chair Şafak Pavey, Sezgin Tanrıkulu or member of the Party Assembly and former Minister Fikri Sağlar.

The 25th Parliament is to start holding sessions after the announcement of the official results by the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK), which is expected on June 20. Following the announcement of the official results, Parliament's newly elected deputies are expected to take their oaths on June 22. Parliament speaker candidates will be announced in the first five days after the deputies take their oaths to be followed by another five days for the election process. In this regard, the new Parliament speaker is expected to be announced on July 6. The election process of the Parliament speaker is viewed as a practice of a possible coalition government. Four rounds of secret balloting are used for the election the Parliament speaker. A candidate for Parliament speaker must gain at least two-thirds of the vote in the first two rounds, equivalent to the votes from 367 deputies. In the third ballot, an absolute majority of the total number of deputies is needed, 267 being the lowest.

The fourth round of balloting takes place between the two candidates who obtained the most votes if an absolute majority cannot be obtained in the third round. The candidate that receives the majority of the votes in the fourth round is assigned as Parliament speaker. The vice speaker positions are divided among the political parties, starting with the party with the highest share of seats, provided that two of the positions are designated to the party with an absolute majority.

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