Turkey: Ruling AK Party elects Yildirim as new chairman

Turkey: Ruling AK Party elects Yildirim as new chairman

Yildirim garners 1,405 votes of delegates at party's second extraordinary congress in Ankara

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Binali Yildirim has been elected as ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s new chairman after an extraordinary congress in Ankara.

Yildirim, who was the sole candidate to run for the party’s third chairmanship, garnered 1,405 out of 1,411 votes in the election held at the at the Arena Sports Hall Sunday, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag announced.

Out of 1,411 votes, six were declared invalid, Bozdag added.

The 60-year-old new AK Party chairman is now set to replace Ahmet Davutoglu as the country’s next prime minister.

Voting for the party’s 50-member Central Decision and Administrative Board, Central Disciplinary Board, Political Wisdom Ethical Board and Intraparty Democracy Arbitration Board continues at the congress.

On May 5, outgoing Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that he would not stand again for the AK Party chairmanship.

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.

Davutoglu became the second chairman of AK Party after 13 years with Erdogan as the leader.

Yildirim, a co-founder of the party in August 2001, has served as transport minister (with other portfolios, including maritime) in five Turkish governments under prime ministers Abdullah Gul, Erdogan and Davutoglu.

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