ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s President and leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called for snap parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, 2018.
Erdogan’s announcement followed his meeting earlier in the day with his far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader, Devlet Bahceli who had suggested the elections scheduled for November 2019 take place this year.
Opposition parties, the left-wing, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and centrist-left secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) have voiced readiness for an election challenge by the right-wing AKP-MHP alliance.
Less than two weeks ago, Erdogan had ruled out the possibility of earlier elections.
The country goes to the ballot box under new rules and a new system of governance, a presidential one, approved by 51 percent of voters a year ago in a referendum initially contested by the opposition.
He said developments in Syria and Iraq, two neighboring countries plagued by intertwined civil wars and international interventions, as well as macroeconomic balances required Turkey to take the issue “of elections off the table” as soon as possible.
An extension of the ongoing state of emergency, if approved for the seventh time by the Parliament as the National Security Council recommended on Tuesday, will be in place when voters head to polls.
The European Union (EU), to which Ankara hopes to accede, once again slammed the state of emergency in a report this week, arguing it was curtailing fundamental freedoms and giving unchecked power to Erdogan’s administration.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany