Several current ministers excluded from AKP candidate list for parliament

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) waves during a meeting with members of parliament of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara on November 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

As Turkey’s political parties on Monday submitted their candidate lists to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) for the June 24 general election, it has turned out that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has removed the names of several incumbent ministers from its candidate list for the Turkish Parliament.

The names of Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek, who is responsible for the economy, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi and Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü are not on the AKP’s candidate list.

With a constitutional reform package approved in a public referendum in April 2017, Turkey switched from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance. According to the new system, ministers will not also be members of parliament. As a result, it is unknown if these ministers were not nominated to parliament due to AKP leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plans to appoint them as ministers in the new government to be established after the elections.

The AKP candidate list does include current Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, Forestry and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu, Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, Transportation Minister Ahmet Arslan, Environment Minister Mehmet Özhaseki, Customs Minister Bülent Tüfekçi, Agriculture Minister Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba, Health Minister Ahmet Demircan and Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz.

Erdoğan will not be able to appoint these figures as ministers in the new government if they are elected to parliament and if Erdoğan’s AKP wins the elections, according to T24 news website.

Turkey will also hold a presidential election on June 24 in which Erdoğan is the AKP’s presidential candidate.

Both elections are being held almost one-and-a-half years before the scheduled time.

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