Bureaucrats in rush to run for AKP in election

Bureaucrats in rush to run for AKP in election

Bureaucrats in rush to run for AKP in election

Many prominent public servants, including National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, have left their offices to run in the elections. HÜRRİYET photo

Civil servants are lining up to leave their posts before a Feb. 10 deadline in the hopes of running in the elections for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) even though PM Ahmet Davutoğlu has said he will only approve the candidature of 15 to 20 former bureaucrats.

The deadline for public servants who want to run for Parliament but at the same time guarantee their safe return to their positions if they fail in the polls will expire tomorrow. 

Among the names who have announced their desire to enter active politics are Hakan Fidan, undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT); Mehmet Atalay, head of the Press Advertisement Agency; Aydın Ünal, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s adviser; as well as Adnan Boynukara, chief advisor at the Justice Ministry.

However, these figures are likely to be joined today and tomorrow as many of them are still awaiting a clear sign from Erdoğan or Davutoğlu. Some of Davutoğlu’s advisers, like Hatem Ete and Taha Özhan, and Erdoğan’s chief adviser and spokesperson İbrahim Kalın are among the names who might submit their resignations. A dozen deputy ministers and heads of important public offices are also said to be mulling a shot at political office.

An unrefuted story that was published by the pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper said the number of civil servants intent on running for parliament was around 700 but that Davutoğlu had made it clear that only 15 to 20 of them would find a place on the nomination list.

Feb. 10 is the deadline for public servants who want to run for parliament, but the last day for those who want to be elected to the legislature is April 7, the day nominations end.

50 to 70 percent of the AKP to be renewed

The main reason for the rush is that around 50 to 70 percent of the AKP group will be renewed in the June polls, giving more chance to those who want to become lawmakers. In the last parliamentary elections under Erdoğan’s chairmanship in 2011, the AKP garnered nearly 50 percent of votes and collected 327 seats but it lost 15 seats in the last four years for various reasons, reducing it to 312.

Some 71 lawmakers out of the 312 cannot stand for re-election in the upcoming elections because of the AKP’s internal, strictly implemented three-term restriction.  Among them are Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, deputy prime ministers Bülent Arınç, Beşir Atalay, Ali Babacan, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, ministers Faruk Çelik, Mehdi Eker, Taner Yıldız, Erdoğan’s chief adviser Binali Yıldırım and others.

But the renewal process will not be limited to these figures as around half of the AKP’s parliamentary group have typically been changed in every parliamentary election. However, this time the AKP could see a major overhaul in the June elections with the renewal of around 70 percent of the group in an effort to provide fresh momentum to the party.

What will the new AKP look like?

Veteran politicians that have been in parliament even before the AKP and those who have founded the party with Erdoğan will have to abandon politics because of the three-term rule. This is seen as a major blow to the AKP as it will result in the loss of its most experienced lawmakers, institutional memory and identity. Around one-third of the current group will be preserved to overcome this deficiency.

The recruitment for the rest will be supplied from two main sources: the bureaucracy and AKP organizations. The latter will have more weight as around 45 heads of the AKP’s provincial organizations will be nominated to parliament, with Aziz Babuşçu of Istanbul topping the list.

Furthermore, Erdoğan favors invitations to more names from the party’s organizations to increase the place of the party in the eyes of AKP supporters.

The change in the nature of the AKP will bring about a younger and more devoted team fully loyal to Erdoğan so that the ruling party remains resilient and united against the challenges it will face in the period between 2015 and 2019.