Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was elected the country’s new parliamentary speaker in the fourth round and with the covert support of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on July 1 in a sign of possible coming coalition between the two, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
Yilmaz received 258 votes while Deniz Baykal, from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), garnered 182 votes in the last round, as none of four candidates from four political parties could attain a simple majority in the third round on July 1. Only Yilmaz and Baykal remained in the last round as Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat from the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) were eliminated in the third round.
“Our nation has been expecting a new constitution soon from the 25th term of parliament. The economic and democratic level that our country has reached today makes a new constitution an obligation for all of us,” Yilmaz said in his first remarks delivered in parliament after being elected to his new post.
The AKP group provided full support to its candidate in both the third and fourth rounds, but the victory came thanks to the MHP’s decision not to vote for Baykal. The support of the CHP group as well as around 50 votes from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was insufficient to elect Baykal, the temporary speaker of the parliament, for the country’s number two place in the state protocol.
The MHP’s indirect support to the AKP’s candidate drew fierce criticisms from both the CHP and the HDP, which accused the nationalist party of acting like the crutch of the ruling party. The two opposition party executives also implied that such a composition revealed the potential partners of a coalition government.