Turkey's deputy PM: Erdogan may announce presidential decision in mid-May

Photo: Turkey's deputy PM: Erdogan may announce presidential decision in mid-May / Turkey

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may make his final decision on whether or not he will run for president in the upcoming elections in the middle of May, his deputy, Bulent Arinc, said on April 19, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"We hope that he will announce his decision in the middle of May after discussing the issue with President Abdullah Gul," Arinc told journalists in the northwestern city of Bursa.

Turks will go to polls on August 10 to choose their new president. If no candidate receives the required 51 percent of the votes in the first round, a run-off will be held Aug. 24.

"We believe that if Erdogan wants to run for president, Gul will feel honored and will support his candidacy," Arinc said.

Gul's seven-year tenure will expire on Aug. 28.

Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah İsler previously said a lawmaker from the northeastern Bayburt province may resign to open way for Gul to become a member of parliament and eventually prime minister. That would clear the path for Erdogan to run for president.

The formula is similar to that used by Erdogan to take over the prime minister's office from Gul in 2003, when Erdogan could not be a lawmaker due to a political ban. After the ban was lifted, Erdogan won a seat in parliament from Siirt province thanks to a re-election in the province. Gul then resigned as prime minister and was succeeded by Erdogan.

"We will elect our new president by people's votes at the end of August. We hope we all will also celebrate another AK Party victory in 2015's general elections," Arinc said.

Turkey will for the first time in its history be able to choose its president by direct vote.

In a constitutional referendum in 2007, more than two-thirds of Turkish voters cast their ballots in favor of electing the president by popular vote instead of by parliament, decreasing the presidential term from seven years to five, and allowing the president to run for a second term.

With regards to Turkey's electoral system, Arinc said, "We will lower the current 10 percent election threshold by holding negotiations."

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