From PM to president: What next after Erdogan victory?

Burak Akinci
AFP
Newly elected Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Ermine wave at supporters from the balcony of the AKP party headquarters during the celebrations of his victory in the presidential election vote in Ankara on August 10, 2014
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Newly elected Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Ermine wave at supporters from the balcony of the AKP party headquarters during the celebrations of his victory in the presidential election vote in Ankara on August 10, 2014 (AFP Photo/Adem Altan )

Ankara (AFP) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will on August 28 succeed Abdullah Gul as president of Turkey, after his first round election victory on Sunday.

The elections were the first time that Turkey has directly elected its head of state and the novelty of the situation has given rise to a degree of uncertainty as to what happens next.

Here are the next steps as Erdogan moves from the prime minister's offices in Ankara to the Cankaya presidential palace.

Erdogan quits as prime minister

Despite his election victory, Erdogan is still officially Turkey's prime minister. However he must now, within the next fortnight, resign the post that he has held since 2003.


Erdogan becomes president

This takes place on August 28, which will also mark the end of Gul's seven-year term. The presidential term is now however five years. Erdogan can serve two terms meaning he may stay in power to 2024.

Choose a new prime minister, party leader

Erdogan's party on Monday already held its first meeting on his successors as party leader and premier.

Officials announced Monday the party would convene an extraordinary congress on August 27 a day ahead of the inauguration, to agree on a new prime minister who will also be party leader.

As president, Erdogan must cut his formal links with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which he co-founded.

The frontrunner for the post has long been seen as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu but other names are being evoked like Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan.

The chances of a return of Gul to the post -- seen as impossible until recently -- increased Monday when he announced he would rejoin the AKP after leaving office.

It appears Erdogan wants to nominate his own successor and has no intention of stepping aside even for a few days between his two jobs.

The timing of the August 27 congress means the transfer of powers will happen more or less simultaneously.


Official results published

Erdogan has ruled out stepping down from either his post as AKP chief or prime minister until he becomes president. However technically, he will lose his position as an MP and thus that of premier as soon as the official results are published in a few days. How this issue will be overcome is not clear.


Legislative elections

Legislative elections are scheduled for June 2015 which will be a crucial test of popularity for the AKP, the new prime minister and likely also for Erdogan himself.


Moves to change constitution

Erdogan wants to rule as president -- previously largely a ceremonial position -- with enhanced powers and shift Turkey away from its current parliamentary system to a presidential one.

However changing the constitution will require a two-thirds majority in parliament, in other words 367 MPs voting in favour out of 550.

But the AK currently only has 313 MPs in parliament and previous attempts to change the constitution have failed due to the lack of any agreement with another party.

Thus the party will be looking for a landslide win in parliamentary elections.

If the AKP fails to change the constitution then Erdogan will have to rule as a strongman leader within the existing laws, which could cause tensions in society.

He could seek to use executive presidential powers which are legal but have so far not been utilised by predecessors.