AK Party reelects Turkish PM Davutoglu as party chairman

Justice and Development Party delegates overwhelmingly vote in favour of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in party leadership election as critical parliamentary elections approach

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Before being reelected to party chairmanship, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during AK Party's 5th Ordinary Congress held in capital Ankara on Sept.11

​Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was re-elected as the chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on Saturday, as Turkey heads to parliamentary elections on Nov. 1.

Davutoglu received 1,353 valid votes (from 1,380 party delegates) and was elected as chairman during the AK Party's 5th Ordinary Congress in Turkey's capital, Ankara.

Ahmet Davutoglu was the only candidate to run for the leadership of the party.

The congress hosted about 300 foreign guests from 29 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Turkic republics.

Among the guests were Iraqi Vice President Usama al Nujayfi, Tunisia’s Islamic Nahda Party leader Rashid Ghannushi, and Hamas Political Bureau Chief Khaled Mashal.

The Presidents of Kazakhstan and Pakistan, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Nawaz Sharif respectively, issued messages for the party's congress.

Nazarbayev praised the AK Party, saying Turkey gained a “high standing” in the international arena during the party's time in government which spanned for over a decade.

Sharif expressed his sadness at not being able to attend the congress due to a tight schedule and wished good luck to the party and its administration.

The congress has brought amendments to the party's legislation, resulting in the formation of two posts of deputy chairman - one for human rights, and the other for city and culture.

The second major change was the exceptions made to the three-term rule that prevents AK Party members from standing as MPs for more than three consecutive four-year terms, effectively allowing some of the members to run again after the inconclusive June 7 general election.

Following the congress, Chairman Davutoglu delivered thank you speech, saying the congress showed that the brotherhood of Turkey’s 81 provinces “will exist as long as the AK Party exists.”

"It will not be possible to separate east from west, north from south as long as the AK Party is here," Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu said the congress also marked the launch of the party's election campaign, adding that the party would introduce its election program on Sep. 22.

In August 2014, Davutoglu, who had served as foreign minister since 2009, was elected chairman of the party after then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ran for president.

Ahmet Davutoglu became the second chairman of AK Party after 13 years with Erdogan as the leader.

TRTWorld and agencies