Leadership reshuffle

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.

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