Turkey's ruling AKP mulls post-Erdoğan scenarios

Turkey's ruling AKP mulls post-Erdoğan scenarios

Turkeys ruling AKP mulls post-Erdoğan scenarios

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In the event of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s election as President in August, some ruling party officials believe the government will be led by “an interim prime minister” for two or three months so that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) could convene an extraordinary convention in autumn this year. The date envisaged for the parliamentary elections is June 7, 2015, in which current President Abdullah Gül would run for the prime ministry as the head of the AKP.

With the completion of the local polls that secured 45.6 percent of votes for the AKP, the party has already started to discuss the post-Erdoğan period for the AKP. “We would like to see Mr. Gül as the prime minister,” deputy leader of the AKP, Mehmet Ali Şahin told CNNTürk on April 7. Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah İşler confirmed that the party’s Bayburt Deputy could resign to allow Gül to be elected as a deputy and therefore become the prime minister as soon as after Erdoğan is elected as the President.

According to AKP officials, the party is dividing the upcoming process into four periods: “Erdoğan’s election as president; forming an interim government; convening an extraordinary AKP convention; and the parliamentary elections of 2015.”

Stressing the need for forming an interim government, Şahin underlined that Gül should first be elected to Parliament to become the prime minister. “Therefore, I think one of current deputy prime ministers can become the prime minister [until June 7, 2015 elections],” he said.

As the AKP hopes to change the administrative system into a presidential one until general elections, party officials think the 2015 election campaign could be well focused on constitutional amendments in favor of strengthening the presidential system in Turkey to avoid a sort of clash of authority between the elected president and the prime minister. “This system can be a presidential system or semi-presidential system. If these cannot be achieved, a system allowing the president to be the head of a political party could also be considered. Turkey will come to this point as a necessity. Electing the president through popular vote will force us to do so,” Şahin said.

When is the swap?

A point of uncertainty on the Erdoğan-Gül swap is its timing. As stated by İşler, implementing the Bayburt formula would surely lead Gül to become the prime minister before the end of this year, most likely in fall. If the Bayburt deputy resigns in September, elections in the town to elect Gül should take place within 90 days. 

The other option is to let the interim government function until general elections so Gül can comfortably be elected as the head of the AKP in the convention and lead the election campaign of his party.