ANKARA (AA) – Thousands of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party members started gathering at the Arena Sports Hall in capital Ankara early Sunday to elect their third new leader, who is also likely to be the next prime minister.
The AK Party on Thursday announced the name of current Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communications Binali Yildirim as the party’s chairmanship nominee.
AK Party Deputy Chairman and spokesman Omer Celik made the announcement in Ankara, saying “our esteemed friend” Yildirim was chosen by a “huge consensus" within the party.
Earlier this month, outgoing Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that he would not stand again for the AK Party chairmanship.
Yildirim and Davutoglu arrived at the Arena Sports Hall along with their families. Both leaders threw flowers into the crowd after their arrival, who were warmly received by AK Party members from all over the country.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had praised the consensus among AK Party members in choosing their nominee.
A total of 1,470 delegates are set to vote in Sunday’s congress. The two-round election is expected to finish by 4 p.m. local time (1300GMT).