Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on June 24, a year and a half ahead of schedule, the day after a call from his nationalist ally for early elections.
“We have decided to hold these elections on Sunday, June 24, 2018”, Erdogan said at a press briefing in Ankara, following several denials in recent weeks about the “rumours” of early elections.
“The High Election Committee will immediately begin preparations for these elections,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who cited “the acceleration of developments in Syria” and the need to quickly make “important decisions” on the economy as justification for bringing the elections forward.
The announcement of the early elections comes as Turkey faces a difficult regional context, with the overflow of conflict in Syria, and a delicate economic situation, with signs of overheating despite strong growth.
According to the initial schedule, the presidential and legislative elections were to be held simultaneously on November 3, 2019, preceded by a municipal ballot in March of the same year.
The double presidential and legislative elections will be crucial, as they will mark the entry into force of most of the measures strengthening the role of the head of state, that were adopted in a constitutional referendum in April 2017.
The constitutional amendment allows Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 64, to run for two new five-year presidential terms. The strongman of Turkey has been in power since 2003, first as prime minister, then as president.