YSK rules İYİ Party eligible to participate in Turkey’s snap elections

Meral Akşener

Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) has confirmed that the newly formed İYİ Party is eligible to participate in the upcoming snap elections on June 24, İYİ Party spokesperson and Secretary-General Aytun Çıray said on Saturday.

Çıray said the list provided to the party by the YSK showed that İYİ Party, which has only been in existence for a few months, is among the 10 parties that  will be allowed to participate in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

The YSK approved the participation of the İYİ Party in the upcoming elections after 15 main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers joined the party in order to ensure its entrance to the elections. The YSK approved the İYİ Party’s application on Sunday with seven of nine members voting in favor.

According to the YSK decision, the political parties that will be able to participate in the upcoming elections are: the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Independent Turkey Party (BTP), the Grand Unity Party (BBP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Democrat Party (DP), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the İYİ Party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Felicity Party (FP) and the Homeland Party (VP)

The decision came following the April 22 application by letter to the YSK by İYİ Party Deputy Chair Aytun Çıray to enter the elections after the 15 CHP lawmakers resigned from their party and joined the İYİ Party. The CHP deputies’ move raised the number of İYİ Party seats in Parliament to 20, the minimum number required to form a parliamentary group.

After the decision to hold snap elections, Turkish media outlets were flooded with debates as to whether or not the party would be able to participate in the elections. The YSK announced that the party must hold a grand congress or district congresses before running in the elections.

İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener emphasized that her party had convened its congress on time, as the election law requires a new party to hold a congress six months in advance in order to be able to run in the next election.

“We held our first ordinary congress on Dec. 10. Our 68 provincial and related district branches have been established accordingly. If you count from that date, the İYİ Party will be ready to participate in the elections as of June 10. I urge everyone to watch their step on this issue. The İYİ Party is the party most ready to participate in the elections,” Akşener had previously said.

The ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and its ultra-nationalist ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) already had established an electoral alliance for the presidential and parliamentary elections. The MHP and AKP formed what they call the People’s Alliance, and MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli previously said the party would support Erdoğan in the presidential election. The two parties will also be under the same umbrella for the general elections.

15 CHP DEPUTIES JOIN İYİ PARTY TO SECURE ITS PARTICIPATION IN POLLS

Fifteen deputies of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) joined the İYİ Party for the upcoming early presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24. According to reports in the Turkish media on Sunday, the deputies resigned from the CHP and joined the İYİ Party to allow the latter to form a group in Parliament in order to prevent a possible veto by the YSK of its participation in the June 24 elections.

The reports came after a meeting between the two parties for cooperation on a number of issues ahead of the elections moved up to June 24. A party needs to have at least 20 deputies to form a group in Parliament. The İYİ Party is currently represented with five deputies in the legislature, with four former MHP deputies and one former CHP deputy.

At a press conference in Parliament, CHP deputy group chairman Engin Altay said the decision was merely a formality to overcome a possible veto by the YSK, although a recent document provided by the Supreme Court of Appeals — the depository of political party documents — to the YSK reportedly lists the İYİ Party as among the 10 parties eligible to be placed on the ballot on June 24.

The ruling AKP and the MHP have blasted the main opposition CHP over its decision to send 15 lawmakers to the İYİ Party in order to make it eligible for early elections. “Those who speak about democracy, those who talk about principled alliances, are resorting to dirty games. This shows a complete situation of political decay,” MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said on Sunday.

“These corrupt politicians will no doubt get their response at the polls for scheming against our nation’s democratic accomplishments,” Bahçeli said.

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci also criticized the opposition parties. “Fifteen lawmakers have quit the CHP and joined another party,” Zeybekci said during a meeting of the AKP’s youth organization in Denizli. “Why? They have left aside all their principles and come together for one reason: to target President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They are making plans on how to harm Turkey,” he added.

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