Elections: Erdogan promises relief for citizens

In the fight for his re-election, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised numerous reliefs for citizens.

Elections: Erdogan promises relief for citizens

In the fight for his re-election, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised numerous reliefs for citizens. The 69-year-old promised energy subsidies, salary increases and tax cuts on Tuesday at the start of the election campaign for his conservative Islamic governing party, the AKP, in Ankara. Civil servants' salaries and pensions are regularly increased above the level of inflation.

Inflation, which rose massively during Erdogan's tenure and is currently at 50 percent, will be reduced to a single-digit percentage. Erdogan did not say how he would like to achieve this.

The elections on May 14 are seen as a test for Erdogan, who has been in power for 20 years. In addition to massive inflation, Turkey is struggling with high unemployment. After the severe earthquakes in early February, criticism of the government's crisis management was also raised. According to polls, Erdogan has to worry about his re-election.

Erdogan has had far-reaching powers since the introduction of a presidential system five years ago. At the appearance in Ankara, he forbade criticism of the system, but indirectly also admitted shortcomings. The presidential system will be "restored," he said.

Opposition accuses Erdogan of being unrealistic

The leader of the centre-left CHP party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, is the most promising of the three opponents. The 74-year-old represents a broad opposition alliance of different political camps.

Kilicdaroglu recently accused Erdogan of being unrealistic. In an election campaign video, he held an onion up to the camera and said: "It's on the agenda of our citizens." Onions have recently been particularly expensive in Turkey. If he comes to power, he will democratize the country and ensure new investments, Kilicdaroglu promised. Both the government and the opposition promise to build up the earthquake region quickly.

More than 50,000 people died in two severe earthquakes on February 6 in southeastern Turkey. Millions of people are homeless. Because of the great destruction, the elections in the affected provinces are taking place under difficult conditions, said the chairman of the independent observer organization Oy ve Ötesi (votes and more), Ertim Orkun, the German Press Agency.

However, he does not share concerns about voter fraud. "The security of the election is in our hands," Orkun said. If there are observers at every ballot box to follow the process, there is no room for fraud.

According to the electoral authority, around 100,000 people affected by the earthquake in other provinces have registered to vote. Hundreds of thousands have left the earthquake region. It is unclear how many will return to their home region for the May 14 election.

According to official figures, around 60.9 people are eligible to vote in Turkey, and around 3.3 million more abroad. Turks abroad can cast their votes as early as April 27th.

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