Senior members of AKP rush to save their seats

Senior members of AKP rush to save their seats

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Senior members of AKP rush to save their seats

DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Some figures prominent figures in the Justice and Development Party (AKP) are anxious about the future, due to the three-term limit Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan introduced for party deputies, and are ramping up their search for ways around it prior to the AKP Congress, scheduled for Sept. 30. 
A group of deputies who have been seeking ways to abolish the ban for some time are now focusing on five formulas that would be enacted by the time of the 2015 general elections.

Erdoğan has not given the go-ahead to any plan for eliminating the ban proposed so far. If the ban is not abolished, 73 people among the AKP’s current Cabinet members and deputies will not be nominated in the 2015 elections. A change to the AKP’s charter would also pave the way for deputies to become mayors and vice versa.

Since three out of four of the party’s front desk and the Cabinet have served for three terms and thus cannot be nominated for the forthcoming general elections, a group of AKP figures who want to preserve their seats have produced five short-, medium- and long-term formulas to abolish the ban by 2015, as the Sept. 30 party congress approaches.

One of the formulas is the direct abolition of the ban, which would mean extending the ban to more terms or completely abolishing it by changing the party charter at the Sept. 30 congress. Erdoğan has reacted harshly when this was proposed in the past. “We are not like other parties. The three-term ban will continue,” he had said.

The second formula would exempt the founders’ committee and the Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) from the three-term ban. This formula suggests changing the charter with a proposal at the Sept. 30 congress, and exempting 65 members of the AKP’s founders’ committee, including Erdoğan, and MKYK members who are within the scope of the ban. Along with Erdoğan, the party’s 65 founding members include current Ministers Ali Babacan, Binali Yıldırım, İdris Naim Şahin, and Hayati Yazıcı. President Abdullah Gül and Ministers Bülent Arınç and Mehmet Ali Şahin are not among the founders, because they were deputies during the term when the party was founded. The nine remaining founding members who are about to be affected by the three-term ban are Bülent Gedikli, Burhun Kuzu, Haluk İpek, Nimet Baş, Nuretin Canikli, Reha Denemeç, Şaban Dişli, Mehmet Sayım Tekelioğlu and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. This formula has not been proposed to Erdoğan yet. It is being said in party corridors that Erdoğan, who is insistently defending the three-term ban and wants to see renewal in the party, may not allow this formula, which also exempts him.

Under the third formula the AKP deputies would take the ban to court, on the grounds that it violates the “right to elect and be elected,” guaranteed in the Constitution, following the party congress. The ban could be taken to the Constitutional Court subsequent to the right of individual communication, and the court could cancel the relevant article.

The fourth formula would require the revamping of the entire legislative branch, and is being discussed in AKP circles as a “contradictory scenario.” If a senate (bicameral) model is introduced in the country’s new constitution, then those cannot run for office because of the three-term ban could be elected as senators. The 150-member senate would, in a way, act as deputies for Turkey, and those AKP veterans who fall under the three-term ban could be diverted to senate posts.

The fifth and final formula suggests lifting the ban through Gül, and a certain portion of those within the AKP who are affected by the ban lean, as a last resort, toward this model. According to this formula, when Erdoğan ascends to the Çankaya Presidential Mansion, as he is expected to do, leaving Gül to take over the party leadership, it is believed that it may be possible to lift the ban before the 2015 elections, on Gül’s watch. This is also expressed as an argument that may affect the design of the party after Erdoğan. 

The name of Yalçın Akdoğan

Meanwile, Prime Minister Erdoğan is considering Ankara deputy Yalçın Akdoğan for his replacement in the party leadership and the prime ministry, daily Taraf reported. Akdoğan, who has been a very close political advisor to Erdoğan recently, informs the public about AKP policies via his column in the daily Star.