AK Party parliament speaker candidate İsmet Yılmaz meets opposition leaders

Published 27.06.2015 21:52
Updated 27.06.2015 21:53
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Turkey's Justice and Development Party candidate for speaker of the country's parliament has been meeting rival political leaders in an attempt to gain support for the move.

İsmet Yılmaz, Turkey's defense minister since 2011, met the head of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli, and co-chairman of the Democratic Peoples' Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş, on Saturday.

The AK Party came first in Turkey's general election held on June 7, winning 258 seats in the 550-strong parliament, but cannot govern alone and cannot elect parliament speaker without the support of at least one of other party.

After a seven-minute meetin with MHP chairman Bahçeli in Ankara, Yılmaz said that he requested their support to be elected parliament speaker but did not reveal the party's response.

Later on Saturday, Yılmaz met with Selahattin Demirtas at the HDP's offices for 20 minutes. Yılmaz claimed that Demirtaş had told him that in the first and second round of voting for the speaker they would support their own candidate, Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, a former AK Party deputy chairman.

However, Demirtaş has told Yilmaz that after the two first rounds, the HDP will look at possibilities of agreeing with any other party and supporting any other candidate besides their own.

The AK Party announced Friday that Yılmaz, 53, an MP from the central province of Sivas, would be party's candidate for the parliament speaker position.

Earlier, the Republican People's Party, which came second in elections winning 132 seats in parliament, announced Wednesday that its former leader Deniz Baykal -- who, as the oldest member of parliament, currently serves as interim speaker until the election next week -- was also a candidate.

Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, MHP member of parliament and former 2014 presidential candidate, also submitted his application to run on Wednesday.

Candidates have to submit their applications by June 28. According to the Turkish constitution, the election of the speaker shall be conducted via secret ballot.

The election on June 30 requires a two-thirds majority among MPs. Should this majority not be reached after two attempts, a third requiring an absolute majority is be held on July 1.

If this cannot be obtained, a fourth vote shall be held on the same day in a runoff between the two candidates who received the highest number of votes in the third.

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