Turkey ruling party to agree on new PM next week: Erdogan

AFP
Turkey's president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) waves at people after Friday prayers in Ankara, on August 15, 2014
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Turkey's president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) waves at people after Friday prayers in Ankara, on August 15, 2014 (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

Ankara (AFP) - Turkey's president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will meet on August 21 to agree on his successor as party leader and prime minister, newspapers reported Friday.

Erdogan, who won presidential elections on August 10 in the first round, must by law step down not only as prime minister but also as AKP leader when he is sworn in as president on August 28.

"We will hold a meeting of the MYK (central executive party committee) on Thursday and then we will announce a joint candidate agreed by all our party committees," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet newspaper and other Turkish media at a reception late Thursday.

The AKP has decided to hold an extraordinary party congress on August 27, a day before Erdogan's inauguration as president, to formally approve the new leader.

AKP officials and Erdogan have both made clear that the party leader and prime minister will, as before, be the same person.

After serving as prime minister since 2003, Erdogan was elected president with almost 52 percent of the vote in the country's first direct democratic polls on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu -- a close Erdogan ally -- is tipped by analysts as the favourite to be Turkey's next prime minister and lead the party into the 2015 legislative elections.

Other possibilities include Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, the government's economic pointman, and AKP co-founder Bulent Arinc who is also a deputy prime minister.

Outgoing President Abdullah Gul -- a more moderate figure than the combative Erdogan -- is seen now as being out of the running to become prime minister.

By law required to be politically neutral while president, he must keep a distance from the AKP meetings to choose the new leader which some observers believe have been timed with the specific aim of keeping him out of the government.

Erdogan, 60, has vowed to be an active president in what has been until now been a largely ceremonial post and wants to change the constitution to formalise greater powers for the head of state.

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