Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that presidential and parliamentary elections slated for November next year would be held in late June.
Erdogan said Wednesday that elections would be brought forward to June 24, more than a year earlier than planned, in order to enable the president to take on executive powers as authorized in last year’s referendum on constitutional reforms.
Erdogan said a faster switch to an executive presidency was urgently needed to help Turkey overcome its current problems, especially those in Syria, where Turkey has a controversial military presence.
“Developments in Syria and elsewhere have made it urgent to switch to the new executive system in order to take steps for our country’s future in a stronger way,” he said, adding, “Even though the president and government are working in unison, the diseases of the old system confront us at every step we take.”
Erdogan, whose government had previously dismissed the prospect of early polls, said the decision came after head of the nationalist MHP party Devlet Bahceli flouted the idea Tuesday.
“We discussed Mr Bahceli’s call with our relevant authorities. We came to the agreement that we should approach this early election positively,” said the Turkish leader about Bahceli’s small MHP party, which is expected to form an alliance with Erdogan’s ruling AK Party in the parliamentary polls.
Erdogan should have waited until next year to be able to rule Turkey under an executive presidency. The Turkish leader won a narrow support for the governance system in last year’s referendum to change the constitution. His extended powers were expected to take effect until after the presidential election.
Meanwhile, the parliament on Wednesday approved a fresh three-month extension to a state of emergency, which was enforced after a failed coup against Erdogan in July 2016. The snap elections will be held under the state of emergency.
The news of early elections slightly affected exchange markets as Turkey’s lira rose against the dollar, and was at 4.0602 at 1314 GMT while Turkey’s benchmark bond lost its yield some 10 basis points.