Bahçeli dismisses dissidents, points to March 2018 for MHP congress
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJan 11, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jan 11, 2016 12:00 am
The only date for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to hold a party congress is March 18, 2018, said MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli on Sunday, stoking the flames of a war within the nationalist party. Amid growing unease within the party after dissidents announced that they have enough signatures to call for an extraordinary congress, Bahçeli disappointed the dissident side yesterday by saying: "The MHP congress will be held on March 18, 2018. Until then, this is not something that concerns us." Former MHP deputy Meral Akşener said last week that she and other two dissidents, Sinan Oğan and Koray Aydın, have collected enough signatures to call for a congress. The trio is expected to submit the signatures this week.
Former MHP deputy Meral Akşener said last week that she and other two dissidents, Sinan Oğan and Koray Aydın, have collected enough signatures to call for a congress. The trio is expected to submit the signatures this week.
The MHP chairman also paved the way for a lawsuit against him with yesterday's statement. Bahçeli defied the dissidents and said: "Regardless of who collected whatever number of signatures, it will not be possible to accept it, and the legal route will be available for them. We recommend them to defend their rights not with us, but with the court."
Efforts by the dissidents to collect sufficient signatures for an extraordinary congress may be insufficient to topple the party's chairman, Bahçeli.
The first obstacle in the way of the dissidents appears to be changing the bylaws. The bylaws must be changed if the dissidents are to have any chance of toppling Bahçeli. If dissidents manage to take the MHP to an extraordinary congress, the aim will reportedly be to allow elections in extraordinary congresses.
According to the bylaws of the MHP, even though dissidents collect enough signatures (around 250) to call for an extraordinary congress, Bahçeli has the option to set a date within 15 days. The dissidents will have the chance to take their case to court. Even then, there will not be an election for the chairmanship in an extraordinary congress, since MHP bylaws disallow it.
Stressing that the party has not received the signatures as yet, Bahçeli assured that the MHP will do what is necessary in accordance with political party law and the party's bylaws.
"Our work for demanding an extraordinary congress is in the completion phase. After this stage, along with our fellow candidates who are collecting signatures, we can start the application process in accordance with a date that we can decide on by gathering the signatures that we have," Akşener had said.
Akşener is given the best chance among the dissidents to run for the chairmanship by analysts. However, she has been recently struggling to cope with allegations that she is a tool of the controversial Gülen Movement. MHP Chairman Bahçeli last month accused Akşener of being the political tool of the movement. Akşener refused all claims, yet confused the public. "I have no connection to the Gülen Movement. I would proudly have said if I had," Akşener said.