Demirtas: "I will file an objection to Erdogan's candidacy"
While none of the opposition parties have yet expressed intent to legally object to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's candidacy in the coming presidential election seeking a third term in office, imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas said he will file an objection with Turkey's election authority.
Demirtas said on Tuesday:
"Erdogan's candidacy is in violation of the law and is illegitimate, both because he does not have the required academic degree, and also because he is not legally allowed to serve for a third term. This fact will not be altered simply because his candidacy is approved by the Supreme Election Council. Such an approval will only make the council complicit in the offense."
"They may have Erdogan run in the elections as a lawless and illegitimate candidate, not as a pure one. I will file an objection to Erdogan's candidacy with the Supreme Election Council. Is Erdogan a king, that he has impunity against the law? Sorry, but I shall not ever recognize the authority of even the most powerful of all kings."
Constitutional limitation on terms of office
Article 101 of the Turkish Constitution dictates that a person cannot be elected as president more than twice. Erdogan has been elected twice, in 2014 and 2018, and will be running for a third term in the coming elections.
Erdogan and government officials including the Justice Minister argue that Erdogan's first election had taken place before the transition to the presidential system in 2018, therefore it does not count in the context of the limitation in the constitution, and that Erdogan will actually be running for a second term in the new system. However, there is no clause in the constitution stating that the limitation concerns only the elections after the transition.
Main opposition will not legally object
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), recently said there is no point filing an objection against Erdogan's candidacy, because the Supreme Election Council (YSK) is composed of members appointed by Erdogan, and they will do whatever Erdogan says.