The Turkish Parliament on Tuesday will launch an intense race to elect its new speaker among five candidates nominated by political parties on Tuesday, as the term of current Speaker Mustafa Şentop comes to a close.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) announced Şentop as their joint candidate for the election, while the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) nominated Ankara Deputy Haluk Koç as its candidate. The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) nominated Istanbul Deputy Erol Katırcıoğlu, and the Good Party's (IP) nominated Gaziantep Deputy Hüseyin Filizoğlu. Meanwhile, the Workers' Party of Turkey nominated its chairman, Erkan Baş, as its candidate.
Interestingly enough, four of the candidates running for parliament speaker are professors and have successful academic pasts.
While Şentop is a law professor, Koç is a hematology professor, Katırcıoğlu is an economics professor and Filiz is a mechanical engineering professor.
The election will be conducted through a secret ballot in several rounds, starting at 3 p.m. local time Tuesday. Candidates are required to win two-thirds of the votes – at least 401 out of 600 – in the first two rounds, while in the third round of voting, a minimum of 301 votes are needed.
If the Parliament fails to provide a simple majority in the third round, there will be a fourth round among the leading two candidates. The one who receives the most votes during the fourth round will be elected as speaker.
According to the Turkish Constitution, there are two elections within a legislative year for the position. The speaker elected during the first elections serves in the position for two years, while the ones chosen in the second elections serve until the end of the session for another two years.
The AK Party and MHP have 340 lawmakers in total, while CHP has 138, IP has 37, HDP has 58 and the Workers' Party has two seats in Parliament.
Şentop succeeded Turkey's last Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, who served as the parliament speaker until the 2019 local elections. Yıldırım resigned from his post after becoming the AK Party's Istanbul mayoral candidate.
If someone other than Şentop is elected for the position, they will be the 31st speaker of Parliament.
The Turkish Parliament speakers' duties include representation of the Parliament abroad, ensuring healthy debates at the Parliament and preventing issues, and inspecting parliamentary commissions and reporting to the General Assembly.