Turkey

Court clears Gul for another term


Published

A constitutional court has ruled that President Abdullah Gül can stand for a further seven year term.

The president was originally elected in 2007 for a single term in office, but then constitutional changes a few months later allowed him to stand again for a further five year term. That rule has recently been amended to seven years which means that the next presidential election will be in 2014.

The implications behind the decision go deeper because the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in their manifesto last year produced constitutional changes as a main plank of their policies.

Any constitutional changes are likely to see a more powerful president directly elected by the people with the prime minister becoming a less important figure. Many members of the Turkish opposition see this as a move by the current prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to hold on to power.

Erdoğan will have to give up his parliamentary seat in 2015 because his party does not allow a member to run for more than three consecutive terms. Many believe that President Gül will step aside for Erdoğan and allow him to stand for the newly empowered presidency. There is a precedent for this move in that in 2002 Gül stood as prime minister for four months after the AKP was elected to power. Four months later a political ban against Erdoğan was lifted and Gül moved aside for Erdoğan.

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