Erdogan Will Run for Turkey Presidency, AKP Lawmaker Says

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will run for president in August and win, Mehmet Metiner, a lawmaker from his ruling party, said today.

“God willing, our prime minister will move to Cankaya with a great margin,” Metiner told CNN-TURK in an interview, referring to the presidential palace in Ankara.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told state-run TRT television today that the victory of Erdogan’s party in local elections on March 30 is an “important sign” for the presidential race since it shows the people’s support for the premier. Erdogan and incumbent President Abdullah Gul, an ally of the premier, will decide on who would run, he said.

While Erdogan didn’t declare his candidacy, he signaled that he may not remain in his post too long after his party’s victory. Erdogan, 60, has been prime minister since 2003.

The AK Party won 46 percent of the votes in local elections even after a series of graft charges that ensnared the government. To be elected president in a first round of balloting on Aug. 10, Erdogan would need to win more than 50 percent of the votes. A simple majority is required to win the race in a second round two weeks later. The election marks the first time the nation’s president will be picked in a popular vote.

Yildiz also denied that the ruling party plans to merge the presidential race with a parliamentary election scheduled for 2015.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts Ahmet Akarli and Kasper Lund-Jensen wrote in March 31 report that the AK Party may call an early general election to take advantage of the opposition’s failure to “make meaningful headway at the polls.”

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