Turkish president calls snap elections for June

Turkish president calls snap elections for June

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called early elections for June, meaning that a new political system that would allow him to consolidate powers would take effect a year earlier than scheduled.

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.

The announcement upended the political timetable in Turkey, which had been set to vote in simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections on November 3, 2019.

Mr Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) party now has 316 out of 550 seats in the Turkish parliament.

"Erdogan wants to take stock of a number of developments that are in his favor", said Soner Cagaptay, Turkey researcher at the Washington Institute.

That success of the referendum ensured that Erdogan can legally run in two more election cycles, allowing the 64-year-old to remain in power for another decade if he wins both elections. The changes take effect with the next election. It was declared after a failed military coup in July 2016.

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Erdoğan said the country urgently needed to make the switch to an executive presidency. "But with the cross-border operations we maintain in Syria, and also historical events happening in the area centered around Syria and Iraq, it became a must for Turkey to climb over the uncertainty as soon as possible".

Erdogan said the country urgently needed to make the switch to an executive presidency, which was adopted on April 16 past year with a referendum supported by the MHP.

The AK Party holds 316 seats in parliament, the CHP holds 131, the MHP holds 36 and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) holds 50.

It also follows the sale of Turkey's largest media group, Dogan Holding, to a group that is close to Erdogan - a move observers say places 90 percent of the nation's media under Erdogan's control.

Secondly, as opposed to other political parties, in particular, the Republican People's Party, the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party and Iyi Parti, the Justice and Development Party and Nationalist Movement Party are fully ready for the election. He has been trying to increase the authority of the presidency in his country. In addition, the president will be able to declare a state of emergency, a power now held by the government.

CHP will seek to present a candidate to challenge the Turkish strongman.