Turkish Presidential elections

  • Published
  • By Mehmet Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Question: Mehmet, I know that Turkey will elect a new president soon, but, I don't see any banners or election activities around. When is the election going to happen? Is Turkey going to have a new government?

You are right that Turkey will have a new president soon and there are no election activities to be seen. Turkey doesn't have a presidential system like the U.S.

As a matter of fact, the presidential election process has already started. The first round of voting to elect the new president is April 27. Currently, Abdullah Gul, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is the only nominee for the presidential seat. He was nominated by Recep T. Erdogan, the Prime Minister, as the nominee of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Turkey has a governmental system resembling Germany and Italy's systems. The Turkish Constitution clearly marks the separation of the three powers of, Legislative, Executive and Judicial.

The legislative power is exercised by the Turkish Grand National Assembly, generally referred to as Parliament. It has 550 deputies representing 81 provinces of Turkey, appointed through direct elections for a five-year term.

The National Assembly enacts, amends and abolishes laws, monitors the actions of the Council of Ministers (cabinet) and ministers, delegates authority to the Council of Ministers to issue "Decrees in Power of Law" for specific subjects. The National Assembly also debates and passes the Budget and Bills for Final Accounts, and ratifies printing of currency and declaration of war and international agreements.

The speaker of the National Assembly also assumes presidential duties in the absence of the president on account of illness, foreign travel or death.

The president summons the national assembly to sessions, publishes law, returns laws to Parliament for reconsideration, decides renewal of parliamentary elections, appoints or accepts the resignation of the prime minister and presides over the Council of Ministers.

The president can't have any political ties to any political party. As head of the state, he or she represents the Republic of Turkey and the integrity of the Turkish nation. The president appoints Turkish representatives abroad.

The term of the current president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, expires May 16. The executive power is exercised by the president and the Council of Ministers. The president is elected for a single term of seven years from members of the national assembly or Turkish citizens age 40 or older who are eligible to be elected to the Parliament.

Traditionally, the leader of the majority party is appointed as the prime minister. The prime minister appoints the ministers.

The prime minister and the Council of Ministers are considered the actual rulers of the country.