Turkey to hold snap elections in June: President Erdogan

Turkey to hold snap elections in June: President Erdogan
Turkey's President Erdogan has brought forward the election, originally planned for late 2019, to June this year after pressure from political allies.
2 min read
18 April, 2018
Erdogan has brough polls forward by a year and a half [Getty]

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called snap elections for June 24, bringing the polls forward by a year-and-a-half after a call from his main nationalist ally

"As result of consultations with Mr Bahceli, we decided to hold elections on June 24, 2018, a Sunday," Erdogan said in an address at his presidential palace after meeting Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chief Devlet Bahceli.

Both presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on the same day. They had originally been scheduled to be held on November 3, 2019.

The announcement comes as a shock to the country, as Erdogan had repeatedly insisted there will be no early elections.

Kingmaker Bahceli

The elections are significant as a new executive presidency - agreed in a 2017 referendum and denounced by the opposition as giving the head of state authoritarian powers - will come into force.

The government on Tuesday indicated it would consider Bahceli's request. But Erdogan refused to make any direct comment on the situation until he met with the MHP leader.

Erdogan has established a formal alliance with Bahceli's MHP party to fight the elections, which made it difficult for his party to dismiss Bahceli's call for expedited polls. 

MHP leader since 1997, Bahceli is seen as a kingmaker in Turkish politics and has played a role in some key moments of its modern history.

He precipitated the 2002 snap polls that brought Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power. The AKP has ruled Turkey ever since. 

Abdulkadir Selvi, a pro-Erdogan columnist in the Hurriyet newspaper, wrote on Wednesday that there were different scenarios possible from the meeting.

He said the first scenario could be early elections on August 26 as Bahceli proposed, or Erdogan could insist that elections take place on the dates already established.

Selvi added said a third situation could arise in which a new date was put forward.

Analysts have said that the state of the Turkish economy could tempt the government to consider the early election call and hold polls before there is any serious deterioration.

While growth in Turkey was 7.4 percent in 2017, double-digit inflation, a wide current account deficit and the need for debt restructuring at top companies could be harbingers of trouble ahead.