Fifteen main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers quit their party on April 22 and joined İYİ (Good) Party in a bid to secure the latter’s participation in the upcoming early presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.
“Upon the instruction of our party’s leader, 15 of our friends joined İYİ Party as a precautionary measure to prevent problems occurring right at the beginning of the election period,” CHP spokesman leader Bülent Tezcan announced at a press conference in parliament alongside the lawmakers who resigned.
“It is a step to eliminate obstacles on our way to democracy,” Tezcan said. “Our friends are acting as shields against efforts to undermine democracy. They will go down in history as heroes,” he added.
İYİ Party deputy leader Aytun Çıray had applied to the YSK on April 22 with the signatures of the 15 lawmakers.
According to Turkish law, a political party has to finalize its organization process in more than half of the cities in Turkey and hold its first convention six months before the election date.
İYİ Party held its first congress with the establishment committee last December, however, finalized its provincial congresses on Feb. 26. It was a matter of discussion whether the YSK would take this date into account to calculate the necessary six-month period.
If a political party has a group in parliament with 20 lawmakers, it will have the right to participate in the elections and present a presidential candidate. The party also becomes eligible to get financial aid from the Treasury for the elections.
Stating that the İYİ Party was on the list of the prosecutor’s office and the YSK would have to acknowledge it, CHP deputy group leader Engin Altay said the delay was a “politically motivated move.”
“The YSK not making a decision to approve that the İYİ Party is eligible to enter the elections is not legal, it is a politically motivated move,” he said.
“It is unacceptable that the institution overlooking elections is making politically motivated decisions,” he said.
“Our colleagues’ resignation from our party is a democratic measure, not a political one, to eliminate the board’s politically motivated moves and to make democracy win,” he added.
The 15 lawmakers who quit the CHP to join the İYİ Party are Burcu Köksal, Mustafa Tuncer, Nihat Yeşil, Hüseyin Yıldız, Ahmet Akın, Mehmet Göker, Nurhayat Altaca Kayışoğlu, Erkan Aydın, Tufan Köse, Okan Gaytancıoğlu, Tacettin Bayır, Çetin Arık, Fatma Kaplan Hürriyet, Ömer Fethi Gürer and Ünal Demirtaş.
Hurriyet Daily News