Tags: Turkey | vote | Erdogan | constitution

From PM to President: What Next after Erdogan Victory?

Image: From PM to President: What Next after Erdogan Victory?
Newly elected Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves at supporters from the balcony of the AKP party headquarters during celebrations of his victory in the presidential election vote in Ankara on Aug. 10. (Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, 11 Aug 2014 09:15 AM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will on Aug. 28 succeed Abdullah Gul as president of Turkey, after his first round election victory on Sunday.

The elections were the first time that Turkey has directly elected its head of state and the novelty of the situation has given rise to a degree of uncertainty as to what happens next.

Here are the next steps as Erdogan moves from the prime minister's offices in Ankara to the Cankaya presidential palace.

 

Despite his election victory, Erdogan is still officially Turkey's prime minister. However he must now, within the next fortnight, resign the post that he has held since 2003.

 

This takes place on August 28, which will also mark the end of Gul's seven-year term. The presidential term is now however five years. Erdogan can serve two terms meaning he may stay in power to 2024.

 

As president, Erdogan must also cut his formal links with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which he co-founded. The party according to its own rules will have 45 days to choose a new leader to take it into 2015 legislative elections.

 

Erdogan's party was Monday already holding its first meeting on his successors as party leader and premier.

It is expected to convene an extraordinary party congress to elect his successor as premier, which will reportedly take place just before the August 28 inauguration.

The frontrunner for the post has long been seen as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu but other names are being evoked like Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan. A return of Gul to the post — seen as impossible until recently — is also being rumoured.

It appears Erdogan himself wants to nominate his own successor after he takes office as president.

 

Erdogan has ruled out stepping down from either his posts as AKP chief or prime minister until he becomes president. However technically, he will lose his position as an MP and thus that of premier as soon as the official results are published in a few days. How this issue will be overcome is not clear.

 

Legislative elections are scheduled for June 2015 which will be a crucial test of popularity for the AKP, the new prime minister and likely also for Erdogan himself.

 

Erdogan wants to rule as president — previously largely a ceremonial position — with enhanced powers and shift Turkey away from its current parliamentary system to a presidential one.

However changing the constitution will require a two-thirds majority in parliament, in other words 367 MPs voting in favor out of 550.

But the AK currently only has 313 MPs in parliament and previous attempts to change the constitution have failed due to the lack of any agreement with another party.

Thus the party will be looking for a landslide win in parliamentary elections.

If the AKP fails to change the constitution then Erdogan will have to rule as a strongman leader within the existing laws, which could cause tensions in society.

He could seek to use executive presidential powers which are legal but have so far not been utilized by predecessors.

© AFP 2017

 
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected on Aug. 10 as president of Turkey. It was the first time Turkey has directly elected its head of state and the novelty of the situation has given rise to a degree of uncertainty as to what happens next.
Turkey, vote, Erdogan, constitution
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2014-15-11
Monday, 11 Aug 2014 09:15 AM
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