Deputies start voting to elect Turkey's Parliament Speaker ahead of coalition talks

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 29.06.2015 19:42
Updated 30.06.2015 15:31
Deputies start voting to elect Turkey's Parliament Speaker ahead of coalition talks

Four candidates running for parliament speaker will compete today to get the second highest seat in the state. The election process for Parliament speaker is viewed as practice for a possible coalition government

Turkish deputies have started voting to elect the new speaker of the parliament for the 25th term on Tuesday.

After touring the parties represented in Turkey's Parliament, four candidates running for the parliament speaker post will compete on Tuesday to get the second highest post in the hierarchy of the state mechanism in Turkey. The election process for parliament speaker is viewed as a practice for a possible coalition government. Four rounds of secret balloting are used for the election of 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 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. The vice speaker positions are divided among the 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.

Once the parliament speaker is elected, official negotiations to form the new government will begin.

İsmet Yılmaz, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) candidate, visited the leaders of two parties in parliament on Saturday to ask for support, stressing the necessity for 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 the 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 the 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 elect 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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