Erdogan to use authority to set May 14 for early election date
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will use his authority to set the country’s election day as May 14.
Addressing a youth conference in Northwestern Bursa province on Saturday, Erdogan said the elections will be held on May 14, a date he already hinted for the polls last week.
“Officially, the president has a mandate [to call for early elections], and as the president, I will use this mandate on March 10,” Erdogan said, AFP reported on Sunday.
Turkey is facing presidential and parliamentary elections officially scheduled for June 18, amid a political debate whether Turkey’s constitution allows Erdogan to run for the office for a third term.
Erdogan who assumed office in 2014 is currently on his second term as president, which is the maximum he could hold the post according to the constitution.
Article 101 of the constitution says that "The term of the president of the republic is five years. A person may be elected president of the republic for a maximum of two terms."
However, Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) says that Article 101 does not prevent Erdogan's candidacy, as it was applied for the first time in 2018 elections as Turkey adopted a presidential system of governance in a nationwide referendum held in 2017 that granted Erdogan vast executive powers.
One exception on the other hand that was brought in with the 2017 referendum is that if parliament votes to renew elections during the president’s second term, he/she could run for another term.
Earlier this month, AKP officials said if they cannot get a May date decision from the parliament, the process will proceed with the decision of the President.
According to them, there are two possible ways for an early election; one of them is the parliament’s taking a decision with the vote of 360 deputies in the 550-seat assembly, and the other is the president’s dissolving the parliament.
The ruling alliance (AKP-MHP) maintains 334 seats in Turkish parliament, which is not enough for securing a parliamentary decision to bring the elections forward.