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Turkish parties prepare for snap parliamentary, presidential elections next June

ANKARA, As the parliamentary and presidential elections near, Turkish political parties are working hard to prepare their campaigns aimed at swaying voters ahead of June 24, 2018, the alternative date set by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan instead of November 2019.

President Erdogan said previously that the elections were unplanned while Prime Minister Binali Yildirim affirmed that the new governance and election system would bolster the political development of the country.

Whereas Erdogan and Yildirim might seem pleased with the current status quo, opposing political parties would have to decide on means to attract votes and win the parliamentary and the presidential elections held for the first time on the same day.

The new system will allow political parties to form coalitions such as in the case of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the National Movement Party (MHP) who combined their resources and efforts to form the “people’s coalition”.

The AKP owes the MHP for their coordination to pass the constitutional amendments after the April 16, 2017 referendum.

The amendments led to the increase of parliamentary seats from 550 to 600 and also made it possible for people aged 18 to run for the elections.

The amendments — at 51 percent execution — if fully implemented will extend the presidency to a two-time five years term, cancel the Prime Minister position, and allow the President to assign Vice Presidents, announce emergencies, brief parliament on the budget, in addition to further authorities.

While the AKP-MHP people’s coalition seem to come to the elections unchallenged, the opposition’s Republic People’s Party (CHP) and the Kurdish-majority Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) vowed to defeat their ruling counterparts.

The CHP’s deputy and former Turkish consul in Mosul, Iraq, Ozturk Yilmaz said that he was eager to run for the presidential elections incase party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu decided to abstain.

The presidential race will also witness the participation of the Good Party (IYI) leader Meral Aksener, Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoglu, and Turkish Great Union Party (BBP) Leader Mustafa Destici participant.

Mostly, opposition parties are running on formats contending the recent constitutional amendments.

The opposition is also unsure whether to form coalitions or not; however, the IYI and the CHP are seemingly trying to brew an alliance ahead of the elections, a step frowned upon by the AKP loyalists.

Some of the opposition leaders such as People’s Democratic Party (HDP) leader Selahattin Demirtas and others are in jail since 2016 on terror-related allegations.

Erdogan’s party, the AKP, has prepared very well for the elections with steps aimed at reinvigorating and reforming its structure and key positions.

The AKP is trying to avoid repeating their disastrous run in the last parliamentary election in June of 2015 when it failed to gain the necessary seats to form the majority government uncontested. The AKP got 258 of the 550 seats of parliament.

The call for elections in Turkey has not only create a buzz within the country, countries especially in the West have reacted to the announcement.

The US, for instance, have expressed worry over the elections which garnered a negative reaction from Turkey towards Washington’s stance.

European nations such as Austria, Germany, and the Netherland also had less than favorable reactions towards the new predicament with some countries saying that they would not allow the promotion of campaigns related to the Turkish elections.

On the economic level, top Turkish officials seem to be in favor of the elections, deeming it as a decisive measure to end market speculation and push forward for Turkey’s future.

The Business and Industry Association of Turkey urged all who are involved in the political process to castaway their differences in favor of economic stability before and after elections.

The AKP is planning to table around 10 drafts to parliament regarding the organization of elections campaigns mid-May.

Source: Kuwait News Agency