Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was re-elected as Justice and Development (AK) Party chairman on Saturday, as Turkey heads to parliamentary elections on Nov. 1.
Davutoglu received all of the 1,353 valid votes (out of 1,380 party delegates) and was elected as chairman during AK Party’s 5th Ordinary Congress in the 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 of 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.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued messages for the party’s congress.
Nazarbayev praised the AK Party over Turkey’s gaining a “high standing” in international arena during the party’s leadership that spanned over a decade.
Sharif expressed his sadness for not attending the congress due to a tight schedule and wished good luck for 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 a thanking 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.