Binali Yıldırım resigned on Monday from his post as speaker of the Turkish Parliament to run as the mayoral candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for İstanbul in upcoming local elections, Turkish media reported.
Turkey will hold local elections on March 31.
Yıldırım, also a former prime minister, submitted his resignation to the secretary-general of parliament, Mehmet Ali Kumbuzoğlu.
A new parliament speaker will be elected on Feb. 24.
Yıldırım’s resignation came as a surprise to many in the wake of the initial remarks of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who 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 comments attracted widespread criticism from opposition parties, mainly 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.