THE LEVANT – Turkey‘s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will pick a new party chief next week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, according to local media reports Friday.
The party chief is widely expected to take over as prime minister from Erdogan, who won presidential elections this week and is to be sworn in as head of state on August 28.
By law, the president cannot have a party affiliation.
“We will gather the (party‘s) Central Executive Board next Thursday and discuss this matter – the nomination of the party chairman and the next prime minister – among ourselves again,” Erdogan told journalists on the sidelines of an AKP event.
The official handover of the AKP‘s leadership may only come on August 27, when the party holds a convention. Erdogan is widely expected to continue to have influence over the AKP even after he becomes president.
Opposition parties have been calling on Erdogan to resign his post this week, once the election commission officially confirms his win at the polls, as the constitution says a president-elect should sever partisan affiliations.
Erdogan, who will be stepping down after 11 years as prime minister, has dismissed the calls, reports said.
The new president is expected to turn the office into a more executive-style government, whereas under outgoing President Abdullah Gul the top job has been a largely ceremonial post.
Preliminary results have shown Erdogan won the presidential vote in the first round with about 51.7 per cent of the ballots cast.