Mini reshuffle in Cabinet expected

Following the July 22 elections, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) leader and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will form the Cabinet for the next government.

Mini reshuffle in Cabinet expected
Following the July 22 elections, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) leader and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will form the Cabinet for the next government.

Many long-time party members who occupied Cabinet positions in the last government are expected to remain at their posts, but it is possible that up to six positions will be changed. Some of the party's newly transferred deputies may be chosen as Cabinet members for the AK Party's second term.

Prime Minister Erdoğan, who secured a landslide victory in the July 22 elections, is waiting for the assignment to form the new government, given by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Following the announcement of the official election results by the Supreme Election Board (YSK), President Sezer will reportedly task Erdoğan with formation of the new government, including naming his Cabinet members.

The new Cabinet will certainly include Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, Finance Minister Kemal Unakıtan, former Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım, State Minister and chief negotiator Ali Babacan, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, former Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek, former Internal Affairs Minister Abdülkadir Aksu, Health Minister Recep Akdağ, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Güler and State Minister Beşir Atalay. However, in the event of the election of Gül as president or one of others as parliament speaker, some of those names might be named to different posts.

Presidential election will be determinative

The revision in the Cabinet will depend on the outcome of the elections of the president and speaker of parliament. Nomination of Foreign Minister Gül for the presidency will be the first giant step toward revision. Because the Cabinet cannot be formed without the president being elected, the government will commence its work following the presidential election.

In the event of Gül being elected president, Babacan will become the foreign minister. If Gül withdraws his presidential candidacy or fails in the election, he will keep his seat as minister. One of the new transfers to the AK Party, Mehmet Simsek will replace Babacan if the latter becomes foreign minister. If no change is made, Simsek will be offered the seat of deputy prime minister, currently held by Abdüllatif Sener, who returned to academic life instead of running for a place in Parliament. The former Justice Minister Çiçek will reportedly be nominated as parliament speaker or will become deputy prime minister. Bülent Arınç, who announced that he would not run for the speakership, will most probably replace Çiçek.

Former Chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Industry Zafer Çağlayan, who has been elected deputy from Ankara, will replace Industry and Commerce Minister Ali Coşkun. The pioneer of the social security reform, Murat Başesgioğlu, will be replaced as minister of labor and social security by the new transfer social democrat Ertuğrul Günay or Ankara deputy Zekai Özcan. Reports indicate that Başesgioğlu may be nominated for presidency or the speakership.

Former Education Minister Mehmet Sağlam will most likely become the new culture minister. Current Education Minister Hüseyin Çelik will not take part in the new Cabinet. Current ministers Osman Pepe, Mehdi Eker and Atilla Koç are the other names that will not stay in the Cabinet. While Health Minister Akdağ and State Minister Nimet Çubukçu will retain their seats, the fate of former Minister of Internal Affairs Aksu is not yet certain.

He will either retain the post or be replaced by Deputy Chairman of the party Necati Çetinkaya. Mehmet Ali Sahin or Vice Chairwoman Edibe Sözen are referred to as probable candidates for the position of culture and tourism minister; Salih Kapusuz will likely become the minister for environment and forestry or will replace Minister of Public Works and Settlement Faruk Özak. Mehmet Aydın is expected to retain his seat in the Cabinet, while some reports also indicate that Alevi philosopher and writer Reha Çamuroğlu may replace him.

The post-election revisions will also affect the composition of the party administration and parliamentary group administration. If deputy group chairman Kapusuz becomes minister, a lawyer will assume the group administration. Chairman of the Constitutional Commission Burhan Kuzu will be appointed to this post and he will be replaced by Zafer Üskül. Reports also stress that deputy group chairmen Eyüp Fatsa, İrfan Gündüz and Sadullah Ergin will assume different tasks within the group administration. The changes will also affect the party administration.

Erdoğan will gather deputies together

Prime Minister Erdoğan will decide the changes in the Cabinet and party administration at a camp that will be held with the participation of the deputies. Erdoğan, who will evaluate the election results at the party's Central Decision and Administration Board (MKYK), did the same in the November 2002 elections. Erdoğan will discuss the future steps with the deputies at a camp to be held in a hotel in Ankara.

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Temmuz 2007, 09:34