Turkey to go to polls for snap election on June 24
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have in a surprise move agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, 2018, 17 months before the scheduled date.
The statement on the snap vote was made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 18 after a brief meeting with his ally, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, who first proposed early elections in August 2018 on the previous day.
“We have widely discussed the proposal of Mr. Bahçeli in our executive board. We have decided to give a positive response to this proposal on holding early elections. The intensification of Turkey’s internal and external agenda has obliged us to remove the uncertainties in front of us through early elections,” Erdoğan told reporters.
Ongoing military operations in Syria, regional developments and macroeconomic necessities create an “urgency” for Turkey to immediately start the implementation of the executive presidential model instead of waiting for November 2019, he added.
“Even though the president and the government are working in unison, the diseases of the old system confront us at every step we take,” Erdoğan said.
“We have decided to hold the elections on June 24. We, as the AK Party and MHP groups, are immediately launching necessary procedures at parliament,” he added, also underlining that the Supreme Election Board (YSK) will accelerate its work to prepare for the twin elections.
Some 55 million Turkish people will be eligible to vote for the 600-seat parliament, as well as for the president who will be able to use all the powers granted to the head of the nation through the controversial April 16, 2017 referendum that replaced the parliamentary system with an executive presidential model.
The upcoming elections will therefore have historic importance, marking the beginning of the implementation of the executive presidency model abolishing the Prime Ministry.
“June 24 is a very good date for polls,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters, saying all preparations will be accomplished in due course.
The president needs to garner at least 50 percent plus one vote to be elected in the first round. If no contenders receive a simple majority, the two top candidates will run in the second round of presidential elections two weeks after, on July 8.
Although not yet officially announced, President Erdoğan will be the joint candidate of the AKP-MHP alliance. If successful he will be able to rule until 2023 with a chance to be re-elected for a second term.
The Turkish Lira currency strengthened slightly against the dollar after the announcement of the election date, and was at around 4.00 by the afternoon. The yield on Turkey’s benchmark bond also fell some 10 basis points.
Central university exams, originally scheduled for June 24, were postponed for one week following the announcement.