Akşener to step down from İYİ Party leadership in upcoming congress

Meral Akşener has announced she would step down from İYİ Party leadership in the upcoming extraordinary party congress following disappointing results in the Turkish local elections. “I am content with the price of standing our ground,” she said in her official announcement.  

Duvar English

Meral Akşener, the founding leader of Turkey’s nationalist İYİ (Good) Party, on April 8 announced she would not run for leadership in the party’s upcoming extraordinary congress.

The party had called for the extraordinary congress on April 27 following its unsatisfactory performance in the Turkish local elections. 

Akşener posted the announcement on social media. She defended the party’s decision to break its alliance with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and run independently in the local elections. 

“I am happy to pay the price if it means our party’s name will not be uttered along with dangerous negotiations that jeopardize the country’s future,” she wrote.

Akşener continued, “The İYİ Party is shaken today, but it has stood its ground and did not become an afterthought of the government, the main opposition nor some actors calculating for 2028.”

She added that she would gladly pay any price for “the wellbeing of the nation and state.” 

Party employees were seen removing Akşener’s personal belongings from her party headquarters office after the announcement. 

Party employees remove Akşener's belongings from her office in the İYİ Party HQ in Ankara.

İYİ Party was one of the important actors of the opposition alliance in Turkey’s 2023 general elections. As a member of the Table of Six, the party followed an alliance calculation while fielding candidates and got 38 deputies in the Parliament. 

Following the alliance candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s defeat in the presidential elections, Akşener criticized the alliance system and vowed to enter local elections “freely” and “on its own.” 

Akşener drew criticism for openly attacking former allies İmamoğlu and Yavaş, calling them "cowards" for not running as presidential candidates for the 2023 elections instead of their party leader Kılıçdaroğlu. 

The decision caused outrage within party ranks and led to resignations by major figures who did not condone diverting the votes of the popular CHP mayors Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş.

In the local elections, the İYİ Party won one provincial mayorship in the central Anatolian Nevşehir province, 23 district mayorships, and seven townships.

Popular names within the party, such as Bilge Yılmaz, resigned from their party administration posts and called upon Akşener to follow suit.