Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) candidate for speaker of the parliament, Ismet Yilmaz has met the opposition party leaders in a bid to garner support.
According to official results of the June 7 election, the AK Party got 258 deputies, short of the 276 needed to form a government and elect a parliament speaker unilaterally.
Ismet Yılmaz, Turkey’s minister of defence since 2011, met the Nationalist Movement Party leader (MHP), Devlet Bahceli and co-chair of the Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas, on Saturday.
Deniz Baykal - the former head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and newly elected Antalya deputy - will temporarily serve as the speaker of the new parliament until a new speaker, he is the most senior member of the Turkish parliament, at the age of 77.
After his short, less than 10-minute meeting with the MHP chairman Bahceli in Ankara, Yilmaz said he seeked for the MHP’s support to be elected as speaker of the parliament but did not provide any details about the meeting.
The MHP announced Ekmelledin Ihsanoglu, who was the joint candidate of MHP and CHP in the 2014 presidential race, as their candidate.
Later on Saturday, Yilmaz met the HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas at HDP’s offices with a slightly longer meeting at 20 minutes.
Yilmaz said, Demirtas will look at cooperating with other candidates after the first two rounds of voting, in which they will be supporting their own candidate Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, a former chairman of the AK Party.
The HDP vice-president Idris Baluken said post-meeting: “We have a candidate as a party. We will work hard for that candidate to be elected parliament speaker.”
Baluken added that the HDP will also speak with the other parties candidates in the upcoming days prior to the first round of voting.
The AK Party candidate, Ismet Yılmaz was announced on Friday, an MP from the Sivas province.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced Deniz Baykal, currently serving as the interim speaker, as their candidate.
Candidates must submit their official applications by June 28.
Candidates need 367 votes out of 550 deputies to be elected as the speaker in the first two rounds of the election.
If no candidate achieves this, a third will be held where simple majority of 276 votes are needed to become the speaker.
If there is still no winner, there will be a fourth vote between the two candidates with the highest votes in the previous round and the candidate getting more votes will become the next speaker of the Turkish parliament.