Referendum results means restructuring for AK Party, intraparty turbulence for CHP

ALI ÜNAL @ali_unal
ANKARA
Published 17.04.2017 00:36

Turkey's historic April 16 referendum resulted in a landslide victory for "yes" voters and the 18-article bill promising a wide range of constitutional changes will come into effect after Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK) announces the official election results. In the meantime its implications to Turkish domestic politics will also take place in the coming days.

According to Article 7 that regulates presidential candidacy, the president will not have to disengage his relationship with his political party. Thus this article will allow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to return to his party, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), that he had to resign from in 2014 when he was elected president.

Moreover, in his speeches during the referendum rallies President Erdoğan also hinted that he will return to his party if the referendum is accepted by the public. Herewith President Erdoğan's return to the AK Party is likely to take place in the coming days. In addition the ruling AK Party may call for extraordinary congress if the party's top decision making body, the Central Executive Committee (MYK), will nominate President Erdoğan for the chairmanship.

The accepted bill gives a transitional period to the country within the aim to adopt necessary legislation until the next election that will take place on Nov. 3, 2019. The Prime Ministry position will continue until that time, however, it is not yet certain whether Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım will continue in his post. In addition, sources in the AK Party expect that the cabinet reshuffle is very likely to take place in the coming weeks.

Besides this, after three weeks recess Turkish Parliament will convene on Tuesday and also on the same day, all political parties represented in Parliament will hold their weekly group meetings. Thus, the post-referendum strategies of the political parties are expected to clear with their leaders speeches in the party meetings.

Meanwhile on the losing "no" side, the referendum results will likely ignite new internal disturbances and even new leadership race inside the main opposition Republican Peoples' Party (CHP). CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu got his seat after his predecessor Deniz Baykal's resign following a sex tape scandal in 2010. Since then, Kılıçdaroğlu has lost three general elections, two referendums and one local election, however, he still insists on keeping his chair. Nevertheless, the internal party rivalry against Kılıçdaroğlu is expected to be more visible after the referendum.

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