AKP spokesman rules out reports of snap election
AFP photoPresidential and parliamentary elections will be held on their scheduled dates in 2019, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair Mahir Ünal has stated, amid speculation that the government is planning to call a snap election.
“We are not considering a snap election in any condition. We will hold the elections at the scheduled time,” Ünal said in an interview on private broadcaster NTV on Aug. 10.
Speculation had been raised after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed the importance of the ruling party’s upcoming congress period in a speech on Aug. 9.
“The most important characteristic of the AKP is its ability to renew itself, its ability to refresh itself. Now we have a challenging period ahead of us. The 2019 elections are very important for both Turkey and us,” Erdoğan said in the northern province of Rize.
The AKP has been undergoing an organizational reshuffle since the April referendum on shifting to a presidential system and has accelerated preparation for its provincial congresses. It reportedly plans to finish the revamp by early 2018.
Asked about the schedule of the congresses and whether the party’s acceleration of the process heralded a plan to push for an early election in 2018, Ünal ruled out any such plans.
“We are focusing on our congresses,” he said.
The constitutional amendment approved in the April 16 referendum stipulates for the executive presidential system change to go into effective after the presidential and parliamentary elections, to be held in 2019.
Constitution’s non-amenable articles will remain
Meanwhile, responding to a question on main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s recent suggestion that the government was defending members who oppose to the secular and democratic values of the Republic, Ünal claimed that the CHP “aims to create confusion.”
“We should look at what has been done. We passed a constitutional amendment on April 16. Within that amendment was there any change to the first four articles of the constitution? Has the AKP demanded to change those articles?” he said, referring to the non-amenable articles of the constitution that define the Republic of Turkey.
“The AKP has expressed its sensitivity about the first four articles, as it showed with the amendment of a parliamentary bylaw. The aim [of the CHP] is simply to create confusion,” Ünal added.