MHP asks for expulsion of leadership contender

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(From L) Candidates for the leadership of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Umit Ozdag (L) , Meral Aksener (C) and Sinan Ogan (R) discuss before the opening of MHP congress in Ankara, on June 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

A Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy, Professor Ümit Özdağ, was referred to the disciplinary board on Thursday for his critical stance against party leader Devlet Bahçeli.

Özdağ, who wanted to run against Bahçeli in the most recent party congress, is claimed to have contravened party discipline. Özdağ recently expressed his opposition to a presidential system of governance despite Bahçeli’s open support for a referendum to implement such a change. The switch to an executive presidency is a long-time ambition of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The decision was announced the same day Bahçeli removed 10 MHP officials serving as heads of district branches in the western province of Aydın for supporting his rival, Meral Akşener.

Last month, the disciplinary board of the MHP unanimously voted to expel Akşener, who challenged Bahçeli for party leadership, from the party.

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