MHP calls for snap election in Turkey, Erdoğan and Bahçeli to meet
Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has allied with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for next year’s general and presidential elections, has issued a surprise call for snap elections to take place on Aug. 26.
Responding to Bahçeli’s comments shortly after the MHP’s weekly parliamentary meeting, Erdoğan said the two party leaders would meet to discuss the issue on April 18.
“In our meeting we will evaluate his remarks. Right now, I have nothing to say,” he told reporters following an address to his AKP lawmakers.
“It is not possible [for Turkey] to wait with patience until Nov. 3, 2019,” Bahçeli had told MHP deputies, referring to the time when elections are scheduled to take place.
“It should be known that the MHP wants early elections after the adjustment laws are fully passed,” he added, referring to laws formally shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system.
“Electing the president on Aug. 26 ... is the most rational and reasonable way forward,” Bahçeli said, adding that if elections are held in November 2019 - after local elections scheduled for March 2019 - then the country could be subjected to “negative consequences.”
The MHP leader said it would be difficult for the country to “endure current circumstances” until then, pointing to risks from rising economic concerns and possible increases in migration into the country.
However, in his later speech to AKP lawmakers Erdoğan made three explicit references to 2019, saying expected changes to Turkey’s constitution will be fully implemented “with the presidential elections scheduled for November 2019.”
Following Bahçeli’s remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said the offer needs to first be discussed in the AKP’s decision-making bodies.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül held a meeting with Bahçeli on April 17 while Erdoğan was addressing his AKP deputies.
The Turkish media cited a draft by the Justice Ministry on April 16 concerning the new state model under the presidential system, which will be implemented following the presidential election.
The AKP and the MHP have formed what they call the “People’s Alliance” for the upcoming presidential and general elections, which will follow the approval of a law on election alliances.
The government has up to now repeatedly dismissed the prospect of an early election. Erdoğan last year narrowly won a referendum to change the constitution and create an executive presidency. However, those extended powers are not due to take effect until after presidential polls, officially slated for November 2019.