Majority or bust
The AK Party is shaping a deputy candidate list designed to win parliamentary majority
Last week, political parties participating in the parliamentary elections on June 24 announced their deputy candidate lists. Of the sitting deputies, 148 out of 316 AK Party deputies, 57 out of 131 CHP deputies, 27 out of 48 HDP deputies and 13 out of 35 MHP deputies did not make the candidate lists. The biggest surprise came from the AK Party. 22 ministers from the cabinet, including Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, were included on the candidate lists. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, Development Minister Lutfi Elvan, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak, EU Minister Omer Celik, Science and Technology Minister Faruk Ozlu were left off the list. It was expected that the strong names in the cabinet would be excluded and appointed as ministers in the new system to be adopted after the June 24 elections, in which the ministers cannot simultaneously be deputies. However, the fact President Erdogan added 22 ministerial names, including Prime Minister Yildirim, revealed that Erdogan’s priority is a ‘strong parliament.’
The AK Party list also reflected concerns over losing the majority at the parliament after the opposition established its National Alliance. The lists were shaped in line with the goal of preserving the AK Party’s majority which the Erdogan and party staff say is necessary for harmony between the parliament and the president. Erdogan, who assigned almost all of his cabinet to the field as candidate deputies, has set his sights on the majority in parliament with over 300 seats. The AK Party decided on candidates names for Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir with great care as these cities said ‘No’ at the April 16 referendum.
In Istanbul, many ministers taking a place on the lists were noteworthy, including Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak, Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Minister of National Defense Nurettin Canikli, Minister of Culture and Tourism Numan Kurtulmus, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.
The Istanbul lists were not limited to ministers only. Deputy Chairman Bitlis deputy Vedat Demiroz, Samsun deputy and former Minister of Youth and Sports Akif Cagtay Kilic were on the list. The list for Ankara, have on nationalist personalities, also attracted attention.
Ministers will resign
According to Erdogan’s plan, if the AK Party receives more than 300 seats in the parliament, some ministers in the deputy lists will resign and be ministers again.
While the number of ministers who will resign will be limited to 4-5, there are rumors that some elected deputies may be nominated as mayoral candidates in the local elections to be held in March 2019 and would then resign from parliament for this reason.
Erdogan’s reliance on ministers on deputy lists will be an important test for the ministers. Their success or failure will be an important criterion for their re-appointment as ministers after June 24. Erdogan, who does not foresee any problems for his re-election, has based his entire election strategy on a ‘strong AK Party at the parliament.’