Gov’t hints revision in cabinet, AKP management after referendum

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is considering revising both the cabinet and its party management after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan returns to his party in the coming weeks. 

The AKP’s general convention will take place in 2018, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said, signaling that Erdoğan will not become the party’s chair before that date.  

“The message of the voters in the referendum states that the confidence in the AKP is continuing, but citizens are warning us to be careful about some matters. We will pay attention to these matters. That’s why we will take the necessary measures to ensure the satisfaction of citizens with municipal administrations, in our political organizations and in governmental activities,” Yıldırım said on April 19. 

Erdoğan and the AKP-led “yes” camp scraped a majority with just 51.4 percent of the votes, despite being backed by the leadership of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), indicating the support for the system change was less than expected.  

Amid the plans to change the party’s cadres, the referendum results showed that Turkey’s three largest provinces, as well as the most economically and socially developed parts of the country, stood against shifting into an executive presidency. 

Erdoğan will return to AKP

Yıldırım stated that after the Supreme Election Board (YSK) announces the referendum’s official results, three of the constitutional changes will be implemented immediately, thus, Erdoğan will have the authority to restore his party links. 

“After the official declaration from the YSK, the president will be able to restore his party ties legally,” Yıldırım said, adding that “we will gladly invite our president to the party, which he is the founder of.”

Yıldırım said the official date of the AKP meeting, where the leader of the party and the administrative cadre will be determined, will be scheduled for 2018. He added that the party was not going to make any extraordinary congress to elect Erdoğan as the leader. 

“We will complete all our congresses within this year, starting from our local and provincial organizations. We will take a second breath, refresh our motivation; we will hold our congress in 2018. After that, our party will continue its preparations for the March 2019 local elections and the March 3, 2019, parliamentary and presidential election. The process will proceed as such, that’s why any extraordinary congress is out of question,” Yıldırım said.

“Our president will restore his party ties immediately, but the congress will take place after,” he added.

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