Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to stick to the date for early elections in mid-May even after the earthquake disaster. "This people will, God willing and the time is near, do what is necessary on May 14," Erdogan said in Ankara on Wednesday. The opposition had previously spoken out in favor of the appointment. Now it was the first time that the incumbent head of state commented on it. Erdogan then wants to run again for the presidency. In the meantime there has also been speculation that the elections will take place later.
The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes killed more than 45,000 people in Turkey alone. More than 1.9 million were evacuated from the affected provinces, according to the government. Another 1.9 million live there in tents. There are also thousands of deaths in neighboring Syria. No information was given about the details of the presidential and parliamentary elections taking place at the same time.
The 69-year-old Erdogan announced in January that he would decree early elections on May 14 – the regular elections would have been in June. According to the constitution, this can be done either with the approval of 60 percent of the members of parliament or by decree by the president. The opposition argues that according to the constitution, Erdogan – who was elected president for the first time in 2014 and for a second time in 2018 – can only run for a third time if parliament forces new elections.
In parliament, however, Erdogan's ruling AKP and its ultra-nationalist partner MHP only have a simple majority - so without the opposition they could not decide on a new election. According to the government, however, nothing stands in the way of the candidacy. Erdogan was elected the first president in a new presidential system in 2018 after a constitutional change – so his previous term does not count. Constitutional law experts are divided on whether a new candidacy is possible or not.
The party leader of the strongest opposition party, the CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, and the mayor of Ankara, Mansur Yavas (both also CHP), are considered possible opponents of Erdogan.