Turkey's ruling AKP mulls its road map for the post-election era
Nuray BABACAN ANKARA / Hürriyet
Having achieved a clear success in the key local polls, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has already started to ponder its road map in the new term, prioritizing an amendment to the law on the national spy agency and the establishment of a parliamentary commission to investigate corruption claims over four former ministers.
Parliament is set to begin work on April 8 and the first thing it is expected to do is establish the investigation committee. According to Parliament’s internal regulations, the commission should be set up before May 3.
Parliament will have to discuss the investigation inquiries submitted by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in April, which will eventually bring about the establishment of the commission. The commission will work for four months and will then vote on whether the four ministers can be prosecuted at the Supreme Court.
These ministers in question are former EU Minister Egemen Bağış, former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, former Urbanization Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar and former Interior Minister Muammer Güler. They are all accused of accepting multi-million dollar bribes by Azeri-origin businessman Reza Zarrab.
The government’s move to increase the authority and scope of the National Intelligence Organization’s (MİT) duties will also be among the priorities. President Abdullah Gül reportedly urged the government not to legislate the bill as drafted and asked for it to be revised before passing it through Parliament. According to AKP officials, the draft law will pass through Parliament before it goes to summer recess in late June.
The much-discussed three term restriction for AKP deputies is also among the hot topics. For some AKP officials, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement that he will serve in “whatever post the people demand” is a clear signal that he will run for presidential elections in August. But whatever Erdoğan does, he is not keen on leaving the leadership of the AKP, and neither are the party’s members. If he doesn’t run for the presidency, most think he will change the party’s three term rule and thus allow himself to remain in power as prime minister.
AKP officials say opinion polls suggest that the party gets an approval rating of between 30-34 percent in the absence of Erdoğan’s leadership, which is why they believe the AKP will move to revise the three term rule.
Another major issue will be the presidential elections slated for August, and a possible move to link it to parliamentary elections. AKP officials predict that the general elections will be moved to an earlier time, but rule out merging it with the presidential elections. There are also whispers that parliamentary elections could be held this November.