AKP fine tunes presidential system in election manifesto

AKP fine tunes presidential system in election manifesto

Nuray Babacan - ANKARA
AKP fine tunes presidential system in election manifesto

DHA photo

In its manifesto for the Nov. 1 snap election, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has narrowed space dedicated to its pledge for transforming the country’s current administrative system to a presidential system in line with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s insistent calls, mentioning the plan solely within the framework of “a declaration of intention.”

In its almost 400-page manifesto for the June 7 parliamentary election, the AKP had widely covered the issue upon Erdoğan’s will. Yet, the length of the manifesto was criticized, with arguments suggesting that its content was like a “government program.”

Taking this criticism into consideration, the AKP has drafted a rather short manifesto the size of a booklet with “short, compact and clear” expressions. 

Accordingly, the manifesto, to be announced on Oct. 4, will cite the presidential system briefly as a system that can meet Turkey’s needs along with a new constitution with a particular emphasis on “democracy, balance and auditing.”

Sources say the AKP’s conduct is not solely related to the idea of presenting a compact declaration of intentions, but also due to the overemphasis on presidential system during the June 7 election, which gained little support among voters. 

Erdoğan is the founding leader of the AKP, which failed to form a single-party government in the June election for the first time after winning three consecutive elections since November 2002.

In the run-up to the June parliamentary election, Erdoğan held a series of large public rallies where he made little secret of his preference for a single-party rule by the AKP, with a majority sufficient to change the constitution and grant him sweeping powers as an executive president.

Resolution process with new definition

The AKP plans to present a Kurdish resolution process under two separate titles in a bid to convince voters it has not abandoned the process because of current fighting between Turkish security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), post the restart of violence in July after a de facto non-conflict.

Accordingly, the AKP will cover “democratic rights” and “public order and fight against terror” separately, arguing that these two do not contradict each other. Democratization process, the AKP says, is unaffiliated with the resolution process, which aims to end the three-decade long conflict between security forces and the PKK, whereas steps for democratization are being taken for all citizens of Turkey. 

CHP’s promises prompt changes 

In the June 7 election, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had focused on promises of bonus wages for pensioners and an increase in minimum wage. The previous CHP election campaign prompted the AKP to rewrite its economic promises for the Nov. 1 vote. Deputy Prime Minister Cevdet Yılmaz and former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan have been working on rewriting the CHP’s manifesto.