Former PM Yıldırım elected speaker of Turkish Parliament

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Turkey's last Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (2ndR) and Co-Chairperson of Turkey's People's Democracy Party (HDP) Pervin Buldan (2ndL) from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, casts his vote in the first round of election for Turkish parliament’s new speaker at Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, on July 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

The Turkish Parliament on Thursday elected former Prime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Binali Yıldırım as its new speaker, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Yıldırım, Turkey’s last prime minister and a lawmaker from western İzmir province, received 335 votes in the third round of voting in the 600-seat Parliament.

A minimum of 301 votes was needed in the third round.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supported Yıldırım in the election.

Speaking to lawmakers after the election, Yıldırım thanked the AKP and MHP parliamentary groups for their support.

“I want it to be known that I will be the speaker of lawmakers who gave me or did not give me a vote,” Yıldırım said.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Erdoğan Toprak got 135 votes, while People’s Democratic Party (HDP) candidate Meral Danış Beştaş garnered 63.

İYİ (Good) Party candidate Hayrettin Nuhoğlu received 40 votes, and Felicity Party (SP) candidate Cihangir İslamoğlu received five. Six votes were ruled invalid.

The AKP has 290 seats in Parliament, while the CHP has 144 seats, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) 67, the MHP 49, the İYİ Party 42, the SP 2, the Democrat Party (DP) 1 and Grand Unity Party (BBP) 1.

Yıldırım, 60, was born in Refahiye, in eastern Erzincan province.

Yıldırım earned a bachelor’s degree at Istanbul Technical University’s faculty of maritime studies and in 1991 graduated with an MS from Sweden’s World Maritime University.

Under then-İstanbul Mayor Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Yıldırım served as director-general of the İstanbul Fast Ferries Company (IDO) in 1994-2000.

Yıldırım won his first seat in the Turkish Parliament as a deputy for Istanbul in the fall 2002 general election, which swept the AKP to power, and served as minister of transport and communications through 2007.

In the 2007 general election he was elected an AKP deputy from Erzincan and continued his tenure as transport and communications minister.

After being elected as a deputy from the Mediterranean province of Izmir in the 2011 general election, Yıldırım became minister of transport, maritime, and communications.

In 2014 he ran for mayor of the İzmir Greater Municipality but came in second, with 36 percent percent of the vote.

On Nov. 24, 2015, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu reappointed him minister of transport, maritime, and communications. 

During Yıldırım’s tenure as transport minister, Turkey constructed high-speed rail lines between the capital of Ankara and the Central Anatolian cities of Eskisehir and Konya.

Yıldırım speaks French and English.

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