AK Party ready to kick off provincial congresses this week

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses members of the AK Party for the first time as the party head after the constitutional April referendum
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses members of the AK Party for the first time as the party head after the constitutional April referendum

Having completed rural and district congresses, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will now start provincial congresses in the run-up to the ordinary congress that is expected to be held September 2018. The first congress will be held in Rize, hometown of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The president is also expected to be present at the first congress.

The party will hold 51 provincial congresses as part of the first phase of the schedule. The congresses in metropolitan cities will be held later on. The schedule is expected to be finalized by the end of February. In the end, the AK Party's Central Executive Committee and Central Decision Board (MKYK) will gather to determine a date for the sixth ordinary congress.

The AK party is in the midst of a change process begun when Erdoğan was re-elected party chairman in the spring. The party held an emergency congress after constitutional changes were approved in the April 16 referendum that allowed Erdoğan to re-establish his ties with the AK Party. What Erdoğan calls "metal fatigue" has been his top priority since then, as he called on some of his fellow party members and mayors to step down who seemed to be experiencing political weariness.

In line with the party's new vision, Erdoğan said on Nov. 9 that the AK Party is a reformist party that can adapt itself to developments without wandering from national and moral values. "I underline that the AK Party is a party that makes reforms, alters its structure and develops itself. ... It is not a status quo party," said Erdoğan. He added that the AK Party should update itself according to developments and be a party that faces challenges by upgrading its structure.

So far, rural and district congresses have helped the AK Party bring fresh, new figures into local branches and administrations. The AK Party deputy chairman in charge of organizations, Mustafa Ataş, previously said the party organizations at the provincial, district and local levels are the backbone of the AK Party and should be reshuffled accordingly to provide maximum effectiveness in assisting Erdoğan.

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