Erdogan leads Turkey to snap elections; the economy and Aksener his top priorities 

Erdogan leads Turkey to snap elections; the economy and Aksener his top priorities 

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan surprised even his close associates with his decision to go to snap polls. Immediately after meeting with his election partner, the president of the Nationalist Action Party, he announced the relevant date of the presidential election, June 24.

“Diseases of the old political system appear in every step we make, elections are needed to take necessary steps for the immediate future for the country in the most powerful way”, Erdogan said.    

The forthcoming elections will mark the beginning of a historic transition of the Turkish regime. The winner of the presidential election -Erdogan will most probably be the winner- will enjoy dramatically strengthened powers as they were adopted by a marginal majority in the referendum of April 2017. In fact, the President will be able to govern the country by presidential decrees and the exercise of his veto.

On Tuesday, Bahceli called for early elections asking to hold them earlier than the scheduled, on August 26th.

“Under the present circumstances, it is very difficult to get to November 3, 2019 with stability and balance”, Erdogan said.

Analysts estimate that the rapid depreciation of the Turkish lira by 25% last year, the deficit, inflation, and private sector loans are rising thus putting on the table a possible economic crisis in the country. It is considered as certain that, after the June elections, economic measures will be taken. The economy is the one that keeps the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in power, since, over the past 15 years, the per capita income of the Turks has tripled. The great financial crisis in 2001 caused the collapse of the then ruling coalition in which Bahcelii participated, and led Erdogan to power.

At the same time, however, the opposition was surprised as the parties had to decide directly who to announce as Erdogan’s opponent. Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) was trying to reach out to Meral Aksener of the newly-founded “Good Party” (IYI Parti) and smaller conservative parties such as the Saadet one, for the possibility of an “Alliance of Values”.

But there is a possibility that Akcener’s party may not be able to go to the elections because of the electoral law, which stipulates that the conference and the party organisation should have been organised 6 months before the elections. Akcener had everything ready on March 1st, so her participation could be accepted after September 1st. However, the final decision will be taken by the Supreme Electoral Council.

One of the main reasons for the speeding up of the elections may have been the higher rates of Akcener that brought Bahceli in a difficult position.

However, the AKP-MHP alliance has a strong, undisputed choice in the face of Erdogan and a pre-election narrative about internal and external threats that brings voters together.

The declaration of early elections confirms the aggressive rhetoric of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  

Military success and invasion of Afrin is believed to have raised rates of the AKP-MHP alliance by at least 2.5%.

At the same time, the tension in the Aegean Sea and the news of the Greek flag that was taken down from Anthropofas islet helps the Turkish government in its attacks on the CHP, accusing the government of having granted 18 Aegean islands to Greece. The harsh rhetoric of Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who said “our commandos took down the flag” and Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag that “Greece’s dreams could sink into the Aegean Sea” create a political line of defence against the attacks of the opposition.

In most polls the AKP-MHP alliance had more than 46%, but Erdogan wants to win from the first round and needs 51% to be able to do it within 2 months. In the event that no candidate reaches this figure, there will be a second round with the first two winners of the first round. The chairman will have a five-year mandate and has the right to be re-elected for another term. Meanwhile, Binali Yildirim will be the last prime minister of Turkey, since the prime ministerial post will be abolished…. / IBNA