AKP set to officially announce Binali Yıldırım as new leader and new Turkish PM

AKP set to officially announce Binali Yıldırım as new leader and new Turkish PM

AKP set to officially announce Binali Yıldırım as new leader and new Turkish PM

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is expected to officially announce Transportation and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım as its candidate for the party leadership on May 19, ending three weeks of speculation after the sudden departure of Ahmet Davutoğlu as prime minister and party chairman.

The announcement will come after the AKP’s top decision-making body convenes at 11 a.m. local time to assess the results of three days of in-house survey to determine the party’s nomination for the leadership. The AKP’s tradition does not embrace races between contenders for the leadership but rather imposes a single candidate whose name appears as a result of lengthy internal deliberations. 

The results of the survey have shown that the majority of the party’s senior executives endorse the leadership of Yıldırım while Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş followed him. Yıldırım, 61, has been in politics since the early 1990s and worked as the head of the Istanbul sea transportation system during Erdoğan’s term as Istanbul mayor. 

The AKP’s new leader will be elected at the party’s extraordinary convention on May 22 in Ankara. In the meantime, Erdoğan will hold his last weekly meeting with outgoing Prime Minister Davutoğlu on May 19, his spokesperson said at a press conference. 

“Our prime minister will pay a visit to bid his farewell to our president. In the meeting, our president and our prime minister will decide the timelines of the process of [Davutoğlu’s] return of his [prime ministerial] mandate,” İbrahim Kalın told reporters on May 18.    

After Davutoğlu’s resignation from his post, Erdoğan will give the mandate to his successor at the AKP to form Turkey’s next cabinet. 

Who’s in, who’s out of the new cabinet?

As the new leader of the AKP will be announced on May 19, all eyes will be on the new cabinet as there are expectations that the new leader will conduct a significant reshuffle in ministerial seats. Deputy Prime Minister Lütfi Elvan, Family Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu and Customs Minister Bülent Tüfenkçi are expected to lose their seats while Nihat Zeybekci, Mustafa Şentop will likely enter the cabinet. 

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek, who is responsible for the economy, could also depart from the government although it is not clear who would replace him. Deputy prime ministers Numan Kurtulmuş and Tuğrul Türkeş are expected to retain their positions while Bozdağ could be appointed as one of the deputy prime ministers. 

Along with the government, the new AKP leader will also renew the cadres of his party by changing a large majority of the 50 seats in the AKP’s central-decision making body.