Parliamentary speaker candidates on tour to get support from parties

SENA ALKAN @senaalkan
ISTANBUL
Published 28.06.2015 20:35

Ahead of the parliamentary speaker elections that will take place on June 30, candidates from four parties represented in Parliament started election tours in an attempt to get support from opposition parties.

İsmet Yılmaz, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) candidate, on Saturday visited leaders of two parties in Parliament to ask for support, as he stressed the necessity of compromise. First visiting Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Yılmaz said after the short meeting that he asked for support from the MHP leader in a compromise period.

The second destination for the AK Party candidate was pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) leader Selahattin Demirtaş. Yılmaz claimed that Demirtaş told him that in the first and second round of voting for speaker they would support their own candidate, Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, a former AK Party deputy chairman. However, Demirtaş told Yilmaz that after the two first rounds, the HDP would look at the possibility of agreeing with another party and supporting another candidate besides its own.

The parliamentary speaker candidate from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Deniz Baykal, who is currently acting as speaker, as he is the oldest deputy in the chamber, sent a letter to the deputies in Parliament to garner votes for the parliamentary speaker elections.

"There is no longer the comfort of single-party government. In the 25th government, the principle of separation of powers will come to the forefront. The directive power and efficiency of Parliament will be seen," said the CHP parliamentary speaker in his letter. Asking for the support of deputies ahead of the elections, Baykal pledged to contribute to an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation, while increasing the operability of Parliament at the level of politics and social representation.

Holding talks with all party leaders, Baykal first met with MHP leader Bahçeli on June 26. Speaking after the meeting, Baykal said that he informed Bahçeli about how he interpreted the duty of parliamentary speakership, how he evaluates Turkey's political atmosphere and the responsibility and duties the Parliament takes over. Following talks with Bahçeli, the CHP candidate convened with AK Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu and later with HDP co-chair Demirtaş.

MHP candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu is also expected to start touring to gain support from parties, as he is scheduled to visit AK Party and CHP leaders on Monday. Reportedly, İhsanoğlu will not visit the HDP, the party that is ignored by the MHP, according to remarks from Bahçeli.

HDP candidate Fırat is expected to hold talks with the CHP leader today, while no definite date has been given for his talks with the AK Party chair. Fırat is not expected to visit the MHP leader. The election process for Parliament speaker is viewed as leading to a possible coalition government. Four rounds of secret balloting are used to election a Parliament speaker. A candidate for Parliament speaker must gain at least two-thirds of the votes in the first two rounds, equivalent to the votes of 367 deputies. In the third ballot, an absolute majority of the total number of deputies is needed – 267 being the lowest. A 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 assumes the post of Parliament speaker.

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