After suffering a major defeat in the Nov.1 elections and losing almost 2 million votes when compared to the results of the June 7 elections, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has been weakened and sources now say delegates are collecting signatures to hold an intraparty congress.
Even though MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli defied criticism and signaled that there will be no change in the party administration after his party witnessed a dramatic fall in the Nov. 1 elections, MHP members are reportedly breaking rank and have started collecting signatures among the delegates to convene a special congress and replace Bahçeli, who has been MHP leader since 1997. MHP sources also indicated that the intraparty opposition has already collected 300 signatures from 1242 delegates to call the special congress.
Bahçeli is known for his harsh stance against any intraparty opposition. Prior to the Nov. 1 election, a leading opposition figure, Tuğrul Türkeş, the son of the founder of the MHP, resigned from the party and became a deputy for the AK Party. Another prominent MHP figure and former interior minister, Meral Akşener, was among the seven names excluded from the list of deputy candidates to run in the elections. On the other hand, intraparty opposition figure and former Iğdır deputy Sinan Oğan, who was dismissed from the party in late August, has returned to the party after securing a court order that allowed for his return on Monday. Ogan was dismissed after criticizing the party administration by saying that the MHP might not be able to pass the election threshold in the upcoming snap elections.
Koray Aydın who was Bahçeli's former rival in the party congresses, and Meral Akşener are already being mentioned as possible candidates to replace Bahçeli.