Sunday, May 18, 2008

Erdoğan Can Run As An Independent?

From Today's Zaman:
If the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is unsuccessful in defending itself against a closure case at the Constitutional Court, its members can still run in general elections as independent deputies, according to a report in yesterday's Star daily.

Columnist Şamil Tayyar reported the claim yesterday on the basis of a conversation he had with the head of the Supreme Election Board (YSK).
The AK Party, re-elected to power with a solid mandate of 47 percent on July 22 of last year, is facing a closure case filed by a state prosecutor who claims that the party has become a "focal point for anti-secular activity." The prosecutor is also demanding that 70 AK Party members and former AK Party member President Abdullah Gül be banned from holding political party membership for the next five years.

In his column Tayyar wrote that YSK President Muammer Aydın had told him there were no legal obstacles to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or any other party member running in the next general election as an independent candidate. Underlining that Article 69 of the Constitution, which regulates political party closures, clearly states that no actual political ban is imposed on party members whose parties are shut down, Aydın noted that a ban only forbade such individuals from holding membership in political parties.
Caught in the clutches of the closure case, AKP is most certainly moving in the direction of accepting closure, regrouping, and running for elections in a slightly modified party bearing a new name. In the likely events that Erdoğan and other members are banned from politics, which in many ways is the key objective of the party's opponents, the suggestion that these politicans can run again as independents becomes very significant. The legal technicalities of this are still unclear to me, but I am sure there will be plenty to come as AKP moves to accept closure as a foregone conclusion.

More as it happens . . .

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