AKP plans Erdoğan’s return to the party as leader on May 21
ANKARAThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to hold an extraordinary convention on May 21 to elect President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as its chairman in line with constitutional amendments that now permit the head of the nation to retain links with his political party.
The decision to stage the extraordinary convention is likely to be taken during a meeting of the AKP’s central-decision making body (MKYK) next week amid plans to hold the convention on May 21. The cabinet is also expected to be reshuffled at the end of next week, according to sources.
PM Binali Yıldırım previously hinted that no extraordinary convention was planned before 2018, but he corrected his stance after a meeting Erdoğan on April 26. Following their talks, Yıldırım met with his closest aides at the AKP and instructed them to accelerate the process for the extraordinary convention.
The AKP will make an invitation to Erdoğan to join the party immediately after the Supreme Election Board (YSK) announces the final results of the referendum and the Official Gazette publishes them.
In a statement to the media, Erdoğan sent a strong signal of his desire to run for the chairmanship of the AKP on the basis of the amended constitution.
Erdoğan had to resign from the AKP after he was elected president in August 2014 and was replaced by Ahmet Davutoğlu. Current AKP Chairman and Prime Minister Yıldırım took the helm from Davutoğlu in May 2016.
Cabinet reshuffle likely next week
Another issue Erdoğan and Yıldırım discussed was a cabinet reshuffle, sources said. Erdoğan is planning to significantly alter the cabinet by giving chances to new names while shifting departing ministers to different jobs within the AKP. As such, the cabinet reshuffle is expected to occur before the convention on May 21, likely before the end of next week, so that all preparations for the leadership change can be accomplished. Erdoğan will also appoint new deputy leaders to the party and in parliament.
AKP to work with MHP on adjustment laws
Yıldırım also met Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on April 26 to focus on cooperation between the two parties to harmonize the existing laws with the amended constitution. In parallel to this meeting, AKP officials held preliminary talks with officials from the Justice Ministry on upcoming legislative work. Their work focused on technical aspects of the harmonization process without delving into crucial issues like the Election Law and reducing the election threshold as well as the Law on Political Parties.
The issues will be discussed with the MHP before draft laws are submitted to parliament, sources added.