AKP has two scenarios after presidential polls

AKP has two scenarios after presidential polls

Nuray Babacan ANKARA
AKP has two scenarios after presidential polls

Outgoing President Abdullah Gül waves at reporters in this file photo. The question whether Gül will continue his active political career is yet unanswered.

According to the ruling party sources, there are two plans in question for the future of Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the alternatives for candidates for Prime Ministry in the case that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wins presidency. 

The first plan talked about in the AKP is based on current President Abdullah Gül’s comeback to the party. Those who voice this plan are predominantly the “old school team” who have been in the party for some time. But there are also names from the team that is working closely with Erdoğan who also defend this plan. Those who support Gül’s comeback say, “We can always discuss alternatives in every matter. We are pragmatic.” They believe that the new Cabinet and the prime minister during the transition period will be determined together by Erdoğan and Gül. For this reason, it does not matter much who the transition prime minister is. The message will be “a strong party; a strong team.”

Those who defend the farsighted plan say, “Just as we have set up the mechanism to bring Erdoğan up [to presidency], we will also set up the mechanism to take Gül down. It is too early to tell what steps the AKP will take. This is what we call “foresight.” This team claims Erdoğan will meet Gül in August and make a clear and definite evaluation. They also claim Gül is not against the idea of leading the party. In the case that Gül takes the party’s leadership then elections will be held in time, this team claims.

Curve ball plan

Those who believe Erdoğan will throw a curve ball are talking about a completely different scenario: Erdoğan will almost totally establish a new Cabinet with a PM candidate that he appoints and also call for early elections. Supporters of this action plan claim that in accordance with the “new Turkey” slogan, a “new AKP” will be formed. According to this, the 71 deputies who are subject to the party’s three-term self-implied ban and who from time to time voice views different than Erdoğan will have to close their political chapters six months sooner.

A new Cabinet would be formed with people who act according to Eroğan’s “de facto” presidency mentality. According to this plan, the new government will call for early elections before losing the wind of the presidential elections and without causing any debates within the party. This team does not favor Gül’s comeback to politics. They argue that one of the party members who is not subject to the three-term ban should become prime minister. They also say in the case that this system is successful then early elections may not be called for. Also, if Erdoğan appoints a PM candidate who is affected by the three-term ban, then this condition will be lifted “for that person only.”