Imminent switch to affect economy team, third of cabinet; no elections until late 2018
Despite clinching approval in the constitutional referendum, the narrow victory means the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) fell short of its targeted percentage of the vote. Now, it is embarking on a process of radical change beginning at the provincial and district party levels through to mayors and even ministers.
According to off-the-record chatter, a cabinet reshuffle that was expected last autumn but was postponed due to the referendum is now imminent. One signal of the coming change was given by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in a speech at a meeting with provincial party chairmen. “We will take steps to improve citizens’ satisfaction in both local authorities and in our government’s activities,” he said.
The reshuffle is expected to affect 10 ministers. The government, which aims to accelerate legislative changes to implement the constitutional amendments in the coming period, is reportedly going to renew the economy team as well. Incompatibility and a lack of coordination among ministers overseeing the economy is frequently mentioned in AK Party circles.
After recessing ahead of the referendum, the Grand National Assembly will resume sessions on May 2.
No early election
Statements made by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Yildirim after the referendum reveal there will be no snap poll in 2017. However, there is an expectation that the election campaigning will begin in the autumn of 2018 and that municipal elections will be held in October of that year.
The AK Party will hold party conferences in provinces and districts until the end of this year, while its ordinary congress will be held in 2018. Yildirim’s statement that there will be no extraordinary congress before then indicated that Erdogan will not resume his leadership of the AK Party before 2018, one of the key changes in the constitution that will transform Turkey’s governance into an executive presidency from the current parliamentary system.