Debates over end of PM’s term grows

Debates over end of PM’s term grows

Debates over end of PM’s term grows

A presidential election campaign banner of Turkey's Prime Minister Erdoğan hangs on a street near his ruling AK Party headquarters in Ankara, Aug. 11. REUTERS Photo / Murad Sezer

Controversy surrounding the legitimacy and legality of President-elect and PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s refusal to resign from his posts as ruling party leader and prime minister has grown further, as the main opposition has appealed to the top prosecutor’s office to take action before the ruling party’s extraordinary convention scheduled for Aug. 27.

Still, lawmakers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) from a legal background have insisted that Erdoğan would cease to be party leader and PM only when he takes his presidential oath in Parliament.

According to the Constitution, in a presidential election, the candidate who receives the absolute majority of the valid votes is assumed to have been elected as the president, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Konya deputy Atilla Kart said in an appeal to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals Aug. 12.

Kart said the elected candidate’s links with his party are assumed to have been cut and that his term as lawmaker would also be assumed to have ended.

“On this issue, nobody needs to make an additional statement personally,” Kart said, apparently referring to Erdoğan. According to figures released by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Aug. 11, Erdoğan won the Aug. 10 election with 51.79 percent of the vote.

It is understood from statements by party executives that Erdoğan will personally administer an extraordinary congress scheduled for Aug. 27, Kart said, arguing that this would be unconstitutional. He concluded that the chief prosecutor should appeal to the Constitutional Court to implement the law.
Only a few hours after Kart filed his appeal, CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Engin Altay echoed the sentiments during a General Assembly meeting.

Altay cited Article 101 of the Constitution which says: “If the President-elect is a member of a party, his/her relationship with his party shall be severed and his/her membership in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall cease.”

But according to the AKP’s deputy parliamentary group chair, Ahmet Aydın, who took the floor after Altay, Erdoğan’s tenure as prime minister will continue until Aug. 28, the end of outgoing President Abdullah Gül’s seven-year term.

The chair of Parliament’s Justice Commission, Ahmet İyimaya of the AKP, and the chair of Parliament’s Constitution Commission, Burhan Kuzu, also of the AKP, echoed Aydın.

“The prime minister’s membership in Parliament and his prime ministry continues until the moment of taking the oath,” said İyimaya.

“When we look at the framework of the Article 101, he shall get his mandate on the 28 of the month,” Kuzu said. “After getting the mandate, he takes his oath in Parliament and on the same day, from the moment he starts his term in office, the resignation takes place. This provision only goes into effect then; it does not have a practical meaning at the moment.”