Turkey parliament elects pro-Erdogan candidate as new speaker
ANKARA - The defence minister from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party was elected parliament speaker Wednesday in a vote seen as a key barometer of the country's politics after the party lost its majority in June elections.
Ismet Yilmaz was elected speaker in the fourth and final round of voting with support from 258 deputies -- all from his Justice and Development Party (AKP) -- in the 550-seat parliament.
As none of the candidates managed to receive the required votes of 276 in the third round, the election was held for a last and final round.
In the fourth round, a simple majority was required to elect the new parliament speaker among the two leading candidates of the third round.
Deniz Baykal from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) received 182 votes, getting an additional 50 votes from deputies of different parties.
Yilmaz, 53, served as Undersecretary of Maritime Affairs at the Ministry of Transport and Communication between 2002 and 2007.
Prior to 2007 general elections, he briefly served as neutral minister of due to Turkey's electoral legislation.
He was then appointed as Undersecretary at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2007, and continued his duty until he was elected as Sivas deputy from AK Party lists in 2011 general elections.
Up to this day, Yilmaz served as Minister of National Defense in third Erdogan and first Davutoglu cabinets.
As the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) declared earlier today that they will use blank votes in a possible fourth round, AK Party's Yılmaz was already the closest candidate to claim the title, even if some of the deputies of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) supported Baykal in the fourth round.
In the third round, Ekmeleddin IhsanoGlu from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) received 80 votes and Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) received 79 votes.
All parties had earlier declared that they will support their own candidates for the third round, so as was expected, Ismet Yilmaz, the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), and Deniz Baykal, the candidate of the Republican People's Party (CHP) proceeded into the final round.