IP's Akşener says won't run in leadership convention

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 25.07.2018 11:40
Updated 25.07.2018 12:12
IYI (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener addresses her supporters during an election rally in Izmit, Turkey, June 19, 2018. (Reuters Photo)
IYI (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener addresses her supporters during an election rally in Izmit, Turkey, June 19, 2018. (Reuters Photo)

Good Party (IYI Party - IP) Chairwoman Meral Akşener announced Wednesday that her decision not to re-run in the extraordinary leadership convention is certain, asking party members to focus on new administration.

Following poor results in June 24 elections despite high ambitions, Akşener had decided over the weekend to hold an extraordinary convention, saying that she accepts her responsibility and won't seek another term. The decision came after a consultative party camp in western Afyonkarahisar province, in which, according to reports, tensions ran high to draw a new road map to prevent the dissolution of the party, with many blaming Akşener for the poor results.

However, IP deputies led by Izmir deputy and Party Spokesperson Aytun Çıray, held a press conference Monday saying that they will unanimously nominate Akşener for the post. Again on Monday, party members and Akşener's supporters gathered in front of Akşener's home to declare support for her leadership, with the party's Deputy Chairman Lütfü Türkkan saying that Akşener had asked for 72 hours to reconsider her decision after she held meetings with the party officials.

On Wednesday, Akşener said on her official Twitter account that the IP moving forward with a new administration is an important first step for the party to complete its institutionalization process and achieve successful results in the upcoming local elections.

"I urge all my friends to focus on the convention process ahead of our party and the new administration that will shape the future of our party. I wish all my friends that will run [in the convention] success," Akşener wrote.

The party's problems began before the June 24 elections as some prominent members resigned from parliamentarian candidacy due to uneasiness of their positions in the candidate lists. One of the founders of the party, Yusuf Halaçoğlu, publicly complained about his party's failure to nominate him. Also, the founder of the party's youth branch, Osman Ertürk Özel, who became one of IP's most public faces in the pre-election period, announced his withdrawal as his party's parliamentary nominee on his Twitter account, reportedly in reaction to his low position on the candidate lists. After the elections, scores of party members and several provincial heads resigned from the party after expressing their discontent with the results. The latest resignation was IP Deputy Chairperson Ayfer Yılmaz, who left earlier this month.

On June 24, Akşener gathered some 7 percent of the vote, well below the hype created at home and abroad. Her party, on the other hand, was able to send 44 deputies to Parliament thanks to the alliance formed with the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). It received around 9.95 percent of the votes.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lost some of its members to IP following a legal and leadership battle that began after the Nov. 1, 2015, elections, where the party barely crossed the 10 percent national election threshold and lost half its deputies compared to the June 7, 2015, elections.

During the process, then-MHP deputies Akşener and Koray Aydın were the main names that raised their voices against MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli, who has ruled the party since 1997. The group was later joined by the party's then-Vice Chairman Ümit Özdağ and a number of other deputies. As they failed to dislodge Bahçeli after a heated judicial process, they left the party in 2016. In October 2017, the IP was founded by the dissidents under the leadership of Akşener.

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