Published: Thu, April 19, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Turkey to hold early elections on June 24

Turkey to hold early elections on June 24

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday that the country will hold snap parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, more than a year earlier than they were due to take place.

Erdogan made the announcement after speaking with the leader of Turkey's main nationalist party, Devlet Bahceli, who, the previous day, floated the prospect of early elections. One day before Erdogan's announcement, Bahceli had made a call of his own for early elections, which had been scheduled for November 3, 2019.

Erdoğan has established a formal alliance with the MHP to fight the elections, which made it hard for his Justice and Development party (AKP) to to dismiss Bahçeli's call out of hand.

"Most worryingly, in the crucial area of fundamental rights, Turkey has taken significant steps backwards", Johannes Hahn, the commissioner considering potential new members, said while introducing a new report on Turkey's European Union bid Tuesday.

Erdogan added that Turkey faces the need to take actions to eliminate political uncertainty as a result of its operations in Syria and historically important events in the region, mainly in Syria and Iraq. His extended powers were expected to take effect until after the presidential election.

Turkey's ruling AK Party and nationalist MHP will present a proposal for early elections to parliament later on Wednesday.

Erdogan said in televised speech the country needed the new election to rid it of "the diseases of the old system". In July 2016, a failed military coup gave him an excuse to begin cracking down on dissidents, political opponents and critical journalists.

On April 16, 2017, Turkey held a referendum during which the majority of voters decided in favor of an 18-article bill to switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system.

Turkey's main opposition party accuses the government of misusing its emergency powers to erode democracy and arrest government critics.

"The presidential system will go into force at the end of 2019". The group has been fighting the Turkish state for more than 30 years, causing the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including civilians. "He has traditionally viewed early elections as a sign of weakness and indecision-a failure of politics". In addition, the president will be able to declare a state of emergency, a power now held by the government. Aksener had announced her intention to run against Erdogan and was seen as a strong candidate. He has been trying to increase the authority of the presidency in his country.

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