Turkey to hold snap election in June

In a surprising press conference, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced snap elections on 24 June, more than a year earlier than planned 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has announced snap elections on 24 June, more than a year earlier than planned, after a call from his main nationalist ally.

Both presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on the same day. They had originally been scheduled for November 3, 2019.

Whoever wins will be vested with extraordinary powers after a referendum last year transformed Turkey into a presidential republic instead of a parliamentary one.

Erdoğan made the announcement in an address at his presidential palace after meeting Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chief Devlet Bahceli who the day earlier had urged early elections.

“As result of consultations with Mr Bahceli, we decided to hold elections on June 24, 2018, a Sunday," said Erdogan.

He told MHP lawmakers that the elections should in fact be held on August 26, 2018.

“Even though the president and government are working in unison, the diseases of the old system confront us at every step we take,” Erdoğan said in a speech broadcast live on television.

“Developments in Syria and elsewhere have made it urgent to switch to the new executive system in order to take steps for our country’s future in a stronger way … We discussed Mr Bahçeli’s call with our relevant authorities. We came to the agreement that we should approach this early election positively.”

In a related development, Turkey’s parliament is due to vote later on Wednesday on whether to prolong the state of emergency that was declared after the failed coup. Parliament is widely expected to extend the state of emergency for a seventh time despite calls at home and abroad for it to end.

Analysts had said that the state of the Turkish economy could have tempted the government to consider the early election call and hold polls before there is any serious deterioration.

While growth in Turkey was 7.4 percent in 2017, double-digit inflation, a wide current account deficit and the need for debt restructuring at top companies could be harbingers of trouble ahead.

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