PM wants all-in-one-presidency, plug-and-play government
As of today, there are just three months to go to the presidential elections. All political parties are carrying out meticulous work to draw a sound strategy for the polls, with growing calls from the opposition parties to name a joint candidate for the presidency. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has given the green light to the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) proposal that they should together find the ideal candidate that can stand tall against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They have made clear that their strategy is based on “preventing Erdoğan from being elected president.”
On the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) side, things are little different. The party’s lawmakers, its congress delegates and other top executives have already disclosed that their single candidate is Erdoğan and that the whole party will stand behind him in this crucial process. The AKP’s decision last week not to amend its three-term restriction rule for deputies has been widely interpreted as a signal of Erdoğan’s candidacy, although the official proclamation will still have to wait.
The work carried out by the AKP has now entered a second phase: Shaping the post-Erdoğan period both at the Prime Ministry and at the AKP. The most important event of this second phase is taking place this weekend in Afyonkarahisar, where Erdoğan and his hundreds of fellows will come together to make crucial decisions on a key question: Who will replace Erdoğan as the prime minister and chairman of the AKP?
Erdoğan is sure that the only way for him to be comfortable in his position as president is to let the AKP remain powerful and continue to be the party of government. He cannot allow his party to sail in unchartered waters, and that’s why he is doing everything he can to keep his control over the party even after his election as president.
If elected, he will appoint the prime minister from among the AKP’s parliamentary group, and as he has said, he will use all of his presidential duties and responsibilities, including chairing Cabinet meetings.
Erdoğan’s plan is to be elected as a president who will use all of his executive rights without leaving much room for the prime minister he will select. In the event of the adoption of a co-chairmanship system in the AKP, meaning that the prime minister and the chairman of the party will be two different people, it will be much easier for Erdoğan to control the party. He sees the 2015 parliamentary elections as vital to putting into effect all his plans to change the administrative system into a presidential system. That’s why the period between late August and June 2015 is going to be very significant for Erdoğan. He will surely do everything he can to avoid leaving it down to luck.
In other words, the votes the Turkish people will cast in August are to decide whether they approve Erdoğan’s plans to turn Turkey into a state party or not.