Snap elections not on agenda, AK Party spokesman says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 10.08.2017 22:51

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) spokesman Mahir Ünal ruled out rumors circulating about the possibility of snap elections, saying the next elections will be held in 2019.

"We are not thinking of snap elections in any way. We will hold the elections on the scheduled time," Ünal said during a live interview on private NTV broadcaster yesterday.

"As the AK Party, we are now focused on the upcoming congress on our party's provincial and district organizations," he added.

Ünal's comments were made amid recent rumors in the Turkish media that speculate about the possibility of early elections in 2018 in the country.

In addition, during one of his political party meetings, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last week to party members, "Work as if there is an election tomorrow."

Turkey is scheduled to hold municipal elections in March 2019 and presidential elections in November 2019. The country last held a referendum on amendments to the Constitution on April 16, and prior to the referendum, general elections were held on June 7 and Nov. 1 in 2015.

The AK Party is currently going into a reform period, said Ünal, adding that the changes are aimed at overcoming the "exhaustion" that party Chairman and President Erdoğan has recently been voicing concern about. Erdoğan claims that there is the need for the party to rejuvenate itself.

In line with Ünal's comment, AK Party's Deputy Chairman Mustafa Ataş also announced on Wednesday that an early election is not on the party's agenda. He stressed that a decision to hold a snap election is decided by Parliament not by the AK Party itself, pointing out that President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım have said the elections will be held at the planned time in 2019. Ataş also reiterated that parliament has determined the election dates by an additional clause to the Constitution.

After the recent reshuffle in the Cabinet, the AK Party government is focused on its 180-day development plan, which is also seen as a test for the ministers in the Cabinet.

The AK Party roadmap will reportedly include new projects and reforms in the areas of construction, transportation, energy, labor, health and education as well as others.

The projects that will be considered on a prioritized basis include, "projects that are important for citizens that are likely to be realized in a short time and will bring immediate relief to society." In other words, the action plan will reportedly touch the lives of average citizens with every article, from beginning to end, while projects that will bring immediate results or comprehensive change will be considered.

The president is expected to determine the next Cabinet if he wins the 2019 presidential election.

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