President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, founder and first leader of the Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is expected to become a sole candidate for the party chairmanship at an extraordinary congress scheduled for May 21, sources in the AK Party administration has confirmed.
He will be replacing current AK Party Chairman, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.
Erdoğan had to resign from party leadership following his election as president in 2014, as it was required by the Constitution that the president must sever political party affiliations on grounds of impartiality.
However, the recent constitutional amendment package, accepted by the public through the April 16 referendum, allows the president to maintain political party membership. Thus, President Erdoğan's return to the ruling AK Party is expected to take place once the referendum results are published in the Official Gazette before the end of this month.
Over 58 million voters participated in the April 16 referendum, in which the "yes" camp garnered 51.4 percent of the votes, while the "no" camp, on the other hand, got 48.6 percent of the votes.
Meanwhile, regarding President Erdoğan's return to AK Party leadership, current party Chairman and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said, "We [the AK Party] will happily invite our president back to our party. There is no barrier stopping him from becoming the chairman. But, the first step is to make him a member of our party again."
To that end, the AK Party's top executive body, Central Executive Committee (MYK) will gather in the coming days to take the formal decision on holding an extraordinary congress and nominate President Erdoğan as a sole candidate for the AK Party chairmanship. Along with the chairman, the AK Party's executive body members, namely of the MYK and Central Decision Board (MKYK), were also expected to be reshuffled at the extra ordinary congress.
Responding to Daily Sabah, Fahrettin Altun, Istanbul coordinator for the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) and a columnist for Daily Sabah, had recently said, "In the new period, we can expect that the party will embrace President Erdoğan as the leader in charge. This will also mean a change in the party's organizational structure. In addition to a more coherent atmosphere it will bring dynamism to the party."
The AK Party, as a political movement, scored its first electoral victory in 2002, after years of political instability and an unprecedented financial crisis in Turkey. It has since won every election, including the municipal elections, general elections and two previous referendums in 2007 and 2010.
In addition, the AK Party candidate for presidency, current President Erdoğan, won the 2014 presidential elections.
In its latest victory, the AK Party had achieved a 49.5 percent vote share under its former chairman, Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Current chairman and the prime minister, Binali Yıldırım was elected as party leader after his predecessor and former prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, resigned from the post in May 2016.