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Erdogan Sets June 24 For Early Presidential, Parliamentary Elections in Turkey

19 April 2018
Erdogan Sets June 24 For Early Presidential, Parliamentary Elections in Turkey

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday met with his key ally and leader of Turkey's main nationalist party for critical talks on a proposal to hold snap elections this August.

"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".

The polls will also give Erdogan a chance to extend his stay in power with a new five-year mandate, after already serving 15 years in power as premier and then president.

"As a result of consultations with Mr. Bahceli, we chose to hold elections on June 24, 2018, a Sunday", said Erdogan. The changes will come into effect with the next elections. The CHP also called for the state of emergency to be lifted immediately, saying elections could not be held with such restrictions and controls in place.

Erdogan's government has led a continued crackdown on human rights and freedom of expression since the July 2016 attempted coup.

Erdogan should have waited until next year to be able to rule Turkey under an executive presidency. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and Bahceli's MHP are seeking to forge an electoral alliance.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on Monday organised rallies across Turkey to protest against the emergency, including a demonstration in Istanbul and Ankara.

The election is set to transform the political system of the region's largest economy, eliminating the prime minister job and centralizing power in the presidency.

Earlier today, Erdogan said Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections will be brought forward to June 24.

Leader of the country's Nationalist Movement Party Devlet Bahceli has recently made a statement urging the Turkish government to hold snap parliamentary and presidential elections.

"Erdogan sees early elections as somehow dishonourable", Fadi Hakura, who manages the Turkey Project at Chatham House told bne IntelliNews on March 30. Some 160,000 people have been detained and a similar number of civil servants dismissed since the failed putsch, it said.

It allows the government to close down media outlets and non-governmental organizations. The law grants the High Electoral Board the authority to merge electoral districts and move ballot boxes to other districts. "We came to the agreement that we should approach this early election positively", he added. "And we will send them (the AKP) out", he said.