Erdoğan may announce presidential decision in mid-May: Turkish Deputy PM
BURSA - Anadolu Agency
Deputy PM Arınç has indicated that President Gül will cede the way to PM Erdoğan if the latter wishes to become head of state.Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could make his final decision on whether or not to run for president in the upcoming elections by the middle of May, his deputy, Bülent Arınç, said April 19.
"We hope he will announce his decision in the middle of May after discussing the issue with President Abdullah Gül," Arınç told journalists in the northwestern province of Bursa.
"We believe that if Erdoğan wants to run for president, Gül will feel honored and will support his candidacy," Arınç said.
Turks will go to polls on Aug. 10 to directly elect their new president for the first time ever. If no candidate receives the required 51 percent of the votes in the first round, a run-off will be held Aug. 24.
Gül's seven-year tenure will expire on Aug. 28.
Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah İşler previously said a lawmaker from the northeastern Bayburt province may resign to open way for Gül to become a member of Parliament and eventually prime minister. That would clear the path for Erdoğan to run for president.
The formula is similar to that used by Erdoğan to take over the prime minister's office from Gül in 2003, when Erdoğan had been unable to become a lawmaker due to a political ban. After the ban was lifted, Erdoğan won a seat in Parliament from the southeastern province of Siirt thanks to a by-election in the province. Gül then resigned as prime minister and was succeeded by Erdoğan.
"We will elect our new president by the people's votes at the end of August. We hope we all will also celebrate another Justice and Development Party victory in the 2015 general elections," Arınç said.
In a constitutional referendum in 2007, more than two-thirds of Turkish voters cast their ballots in favor of electing the president by popular vote instead of by Parliament, decreasing the presidential term from seven years to five, and allowing the president to run for a second term.
Arınç also touched on the electoral system and the current high 10 percent threshold. "We will lower the current 10 percent election threshold after holding negotiations," he said.