Turkey’s president has announced May 14 as the date for the country’s next parliamentary and presidential elections.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who plans to seek re-election, made the announcement during a Saturday youth conference in the northwestern Bursa province. A video of the event was released Sunday.
“I thank God that we are destined to share our path with you, our valued youth, who will vote for the first time in the elections that will be held on May 14,” said Erdogan, who had hinted at the date last week.
He said in Bursa that he would make the formal call on March 10, after which Turkey’s Supreme Election Council would prepare for the elections.
If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round of voting would be held on May 28.
Opposition yet to name candidate
Erdogan, who has been in office since 2003 – first as prime minister, then as president since 2014 – faces his biggest test in his two decades at the reins of the regional military power, NATO member and major emerging market economy.
A six-party opposition alliance has yet to put forth a presidential candidate. A pro-Kurdish party that is the third-largest in parliament has so far been excluded from the alliance and said it might field its own candidate.
The opposition has blamed Turkey’s economic downturn and an erosion of civil rights and freedoms on the 68-year-old Erdogan, saying the revised government system amounts to “one-man rule”.
In 2018, Erdogan introduced a system of governance that abolished the office of the prime minister and concentrated most powers in the hands of the president. The office of the president was largely a ceremonial post before then. Under the new system, presidential and parliamentary elections are held on the same day.
The presidential and parliamentary elections were scheduled to be held on June 18, but Erdogan has previously signalled that the vote could be brought forward. An official of his AK Party has previously said that an election in June would coincide with the summer holiday season when people are travelling.