By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
Turkish lawmakers on Thursday began casting their votes to elect the first speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly under the new government system.
In accordance with the Turkish Constitution, the speaker election is being conducted via secret ballot.
The first and second round of voting in the election for parliament speaker yielded no clear result, as all five candidates failed to secure the required two-thirds majority to win.
A third round is now underway.
Turkey's last Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, is the leading candidate for the post.
Yildirim served as prime minister until earlier this week, when the post was abolished under constitutional changes.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has announced that it will support the AK Party’s candidate.
The voting process began at 2.28 p.m. local time (1128 GMT) at the Turkish Parliament.
Former Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman is watching the election process.
Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has nominated Erdogan Toprak for the post of parliament speaker. Toprak, a onetime youth and sports minister, is a lawmaker from the Istanbul province.
The opposition Good (IYI) Party also nominated Hayrettin Nuhoglu for the post.
Nuhoglu, born in 1953, is also a lawmaker from Istanbul.
The opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) nominated Meral Danis Bestas for the post.
Bestas, born in 1967, is a lawmaker from the southeastern Siirt province.
In the second round, Yildirim got 336 votes, while Toprak got 131, Bestas 65, and Nuhoglu 42.
Felicity (Saadet) Party candidate Cihangir Islamoglu got 4 four votes, and six votes were ruled invalid.
In the first round, a total of 331 votes were cast for Yildirim while Toprak got 134 votes, Bestas 65, Nuhoglu 43, and Firat 4, and four votes were ruled invalid.
In the third round of voting, a minimum of 301 votes is needed. If a fourth round is necessary, the candidate with the largest number of votes is elected.
The AK Party holds 290 seats in parliament, while the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has 144 seats, HDP 67 seats, the MHP 49, IYI Party 42, Saadet Party 2, Democrat Party (DP) 1, and Grand Unity Party (BBP) 1.