YSK rejects dissidents' appeal, MHP convention set for 2018

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
Published 29.06.2016 00:00
Party dissidents Ümit Özdağ L, Meral Akşener C and Sinan Oğan R waiting for delegates at the emergency convention in Ankara, June 19.
Party dissidents Ümit Özdağ (L), Meral Akşener (C) and Sinan Oğan (R) waiting for delegates at the emergency convention in Ankara, June 19.

After the Supreme Election Board rejected MHP dissidents' appeal and announced that there cannot be a convention to elect a chairman on July 10, the long standing chaos concerning party conventions might finally be put to rest

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) yesterday rejected the objection from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) dissidents and approved the Çankaya Provincial Election Board decision that the MHP convention on July 10 cannot elect a chairman. Following this development, the party will hold an convention with election in March 2018 as declared by the party administration and chairman Devlet Bahçeli following the Nov.1 elections.

Before the decision, Bahçeli, speaking at the MHP parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, said: "The judicial processes do not allow the holding of our sixth emergency convention, which had been set for July 10."

Elsewhere, party attorney Yücel Bulut said on Twitter on Tuesday that the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor's Office rejected the demands to replace several articles of party bylaws with those that were changed at the MHP dissident emergency convention held on June 19.

Following the imposition by an Ankara civil court of an interim injunction on the June 19 emergency convention held by MHP dissidents, the Çankaya Provincial Election Board ruled on Monday that the MHP's convention set for July 10 cannot elect a chairman.

Bahçeli previously said that the party was waiting for the decision from the YSK in order to hold the convention on July 10. "If there are no judicial obstacles, then we will hold our convention at the Ankara Sports Arena in a festive way. However, if not allowed, then we will begin the process of holding the 12th ordinary convention of the party starting with conventions throughout provinces and districts on Oct. 9," he added.

MHP dissidents held an emergency convention on June 19 that was not sanctioned by the party administration during which they changed party bylaws to allow the election of a chairman at emergency conventions, and were planning to elect a new chairman at the July 10 convention. Bahçeli has been strengthened against the dissidents now that they will be unable to elect a chairman on July 10 and an injunction has been imposed on the bylaws changed on June 19.

It is also expected that Bahçeli aims to regain all disciplinary authorities along with authorization to shut down provincial organizations if the dissidents fail to replace him.

Even though the dissidents met on June 19 with the sole intention to change the party regulations that prohibit the election of a chairman at emergency conventions, 13 other articles were changed. Sinan Oğan and Koray Aydın, two of the dissidents, criticized Meral Akşener for what they said was secretly changing the other 13 articles, which according to them paved the way for the imposition of the injunction.

Following the June 19 convention, Oğan and Aydın complained that Akşener had changed other party regulations without their knowledge. "Call it the disintegration [of the dissidents] or whatever you like, but if the party regulations are to be changed, all of the changes should be brought and negotiated together," Oğan said, adding that he was not aware of the other changes made to party regulations. Aydın also said he did not see any of the changes. "We thought only this one article would be changed," he said. "Meral Akşener's team is at it again. We could have contributed with our experience."The dissidents have been fighting to remove Bahçeli, who has led the party for nearly 20 years, following the party's poor showing in last November's general elections and many previous elections.

The 12th Ankara Civil Court of Peace gave the go-ahead in April after party dissidents gathered enough delegate signatures to convene an emergency convention.

Party officials appealed the decision and police armed with conflicting court rulings prevented a dissident-led convention in Ankara in May.

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