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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Turkish President Erdogan confirms 14 May as date for presidential election

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Turkish President Erdogan is bringing forward the presidential election, originally scheduled for 18 June, to 14 May.

Mr Erdogan, 69, who is running for his own succession, became prime minister in 2003, before amending the constitution and becoming president, directly elected by universal suffrage, in 2014. He then resumed his duties as president under the new executive presidential system following the elections held in June 2018.

Several reasons were given in Turkey for this change of date, including the sluggish economy, the dates of the school holidays and the university entrance exam, scheduled for June. But also the polls showing him defeated, as a result of corruption scandals and above all inflation which exceeded 85% last year before returning to over 60%.

Under the new system, a person can be elected president a maximum of two times. Erdogan’s five-year term expires in June 2023, and there was an ongoing debate about whether he could run again with regular elections.

Pro-government circles claimed that there is no legal obstacle to Erdogan being reappointed under the new system. However, critics pointed out that the Turkish constitution imposes a two-term limit on the president.

According to critics, the only way Erdogan could become a candidate was if parliament decided to hold early elections with the approval of 360 of the 600 deputies. However, the ruling AKP bloc currently has 335 seats in parliament, so it will need the support of the opposition to set a date for early elections.

The 6-party opposition coalition, after a 9-hour meeting on 5 January, had come to the conclusion that it would support early elections.

The Table of Six is an electoral alliance of the six opposition parties
But the opposition alliance has still not announced its common candidate despite a year of internal consultations, nor has it announced its programme. The announcement of its presidential candidate is expected in the course of February.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), which is the third largest in parliament, has so far been excluded from the opposition bloc and has said it may nominate its own candidate.

They have won mayoral races in Turkey’s three main cities – Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Now they hope to do it again.

This election will be crucial for his and the country’s future, even though he has managed to position himself on the geopolitical chessboard in his region and in Europe. His mediation between Ukraine and Russia, the blackmail of migrants as well as the blocking of Sweden’s membership in NATO.

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