Turkey’s Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım, who is also a former prime minister, has said he will resign from his post as speaker of the Turkish Parliament once he is declared the official mayoral candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for İstanbul, Turkish media reports said on Tuesday.
Turkey will hold local elections on March 31.
“The moment an official application is made for my candidacy, I will leave my post as speaker of parliament,” Yıldırım said during a program on CNN Türk on Tuesday night.
In December 2018 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Yıldırım would be the AKP’s mayoral candidate for İstanbul, leading to debates over whether he would resign from his post as parliament speaker during the campaign.
Erdoğan had said at the time: “Where did this resignation debate come from over the [mayoral] candidacy of our parliament speaker? Can there be such a thing? … There is no need for a resignation. A member of parliament continues to do their job until they are elected mayor. It is the same for a parliament speaker.”
Erdoğan’s remarks attracted widespread criticism from opposition parties, mainly from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which said the election campaign would not be held in a fair and equal manner if Yıldırım were to retain his title as parliament speaker.