Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called presidential elections this Friday for May 14, five weeks earlier than originally planned, amid the country’s crisis following the February 6 earthquake. On the same day, the parliamentary elections will also take place, where the Turks will elect their 600 representatives to the Grand National Assembly, the only chamber in the country.
In a televised speech, Erdogan justified the progress of the elections because the June 18 schedule coincides with university exams, summer vacations and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Most of the returns show a narrow victory for the candidate of the six-party opposition coalition, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu (74 years old), although, looking at the margin of error, the polls reflect a technical tie.
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Kiliçdaroglu has already achieved various political successes against Erdogan in recent years, such as the fact that his party won the majority in Istanbul in 2019 or exposed corruption scandals in the formation of the Government. It is to be hoped that the coalition, known as the Table of Six, will retain the support of Kiliçdaroglu after the infighting that followed his election.
The current president of Turkey, who has led the country since 2003 – first as prime minister, and after 2014 as head of state, will face the next elections that he had to fight in the last two decades, because the growing opposition in the country in recent weeks has joined the administration of the consequences of the great earthquake , who devastated a good part of the nation a little over a month ago.
Although the death toll continues to rise, the earthquake left at least 47,000 dead in the country, with more than 600,000 buildings collapsed or severely affected, according to official data. Among the measures taken by Erdogan in recent times is the delivery of 500 coins to each family affected by the earthquake, in addition to “massive operations” to build houses. In addition, it will allow those who were forced to move due to the earthquake to vote in the city where they currently reside.
Kiliçdaroglu’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) has announced far-reaching changes across the country, with the intention of loosening Erdogan’s protectionist regime. Its economic leaders have carried out a policy contrary to what is generally accepted in the West, while it has exceeded 80% year-on-year growth by the end of last year. At the same time, the Turkish lira depreciated 80% against the dollar in five years.