Akşener only candidate in far-right İP's extraordinary convention

Published 30.07.2018 23:17
Updated 30.07.2018 23:18

Despite announcing that she would resign after a lackluster showing in the latest elections, Meral Akşener was announced yesterday as the only candidate for the upcoming extraordinary convention of the Good Party (İP). Following her decision to resign in the face of mounting pressure, the İP leader Akşener was persuaded by party members including İP spokesman Aytun Çıray, Lütfü Türkkan, Ümit Özdağ and Koray Aydın to attend the meeting of the party's presidency council held yesterday.

In a statement she made before making her way to the party's presidency council in Ankara, Akşener said that they will discuss in detail the issues her party is facing in the upcoming extraordinary convention and moreover she stressed that they will exert significant effort to be more successful in the upcoming local elections.

"Conventions and their delegates are the highest organization of any political party. There, we will discuss our shortcomings and the problems we could not solve. Following that, the İP will exert great efforts to obtain significant results in the local elections," Akşener said.

Touching upon the previous elections, she stated that if there is an issue of failure, the responsibility belongs to her as the chairwoman.

Akşener's positive remarks on working for the future of the party and not making a statement against a rerun for chairmanship signaled that she was convinced ahead of the meeting. Yet, no official decision or a statement was released by the time Daily Sabah went to print.

The İP has been struggling to wind down the heated debates within the party prompted by the poor election results on June 24. Akşener gained 7.3 percent of the votes in the presidential elections while the İP garnered 9.6 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections. The dissatisfaction from the elections stoked tensions within the party which resulted in a high number of resignations from the party.

Failing to manage the unraveling, Akşener called for an extraordinary convention and announced her resignation following the meetings in central Afyonkarahisar province which aimed to draw a new road map to prevent the dissolution of the party.

Amid discussions on whether she will backpedal from her decision or not, Akşener's supporters from various provinces gathered in front of her house on Saturday calling on her to continue as the leader of the party. After having a meeting with a group of İP deputies, Akşener stated over the weekend that she will attend the meeting of the party's presidency council and asked for her supporters to head back to their homes.

The İP was founded in 2017 by some dissidents, led by Akşener, from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). After the Nov. 1, 2015 elections, where the MHP barely crossed the 10 percent national election threshold and lost half its deputies compared to the June 7, 2015 elections; Akşener, the party's then-Vice Chairman Ümit Özdağ and a number of other deputies called on MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli to step down. After they failed to unseat Bahçeli following a heated judicial process, they left the party in 2016 to form their own party.

When the İP was first established, Akşener claimed that she was a strong opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the elections and promised to bring about a change, embracing voters across the political spectrum. Yet, the different discourses used by Akşener during the run-up to the last elections have created confusion about the party's ideological stance. The election results indicated that she failed to fulfill expectations and resonate with people.

The recent incidents engulfing the İP have showed that their failure in the elections has created deep fissures within the party. It seems like it is becoming more and more difficult to hold the party together with each passing day.

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