The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has announced snap elections on 24 June, more than a year earlier than planned, saying the country urgently needed to make the switch to an executive presidency.
In an address at his presidential palace on Wednesday, Erdogan said the country urgently needed to make the switch to an executive presidency.
“Developments in Syria and elsewhere have made it urgent to switch to the new executive system in order to take steps for our country’s future in a stronger way … “
Erdoğan said he made the decision after speaking to the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, who a day earlier had floated the prospect of early polls.
“ We discussed Mr Bahçeli’s call with our relevant authorities. We came to the agreement that we should approach this early election positively.”
The date will still need to be confirmed by the election commission, he said, but preparations would begin.
The parliamentary and presidential elections had previously been expected in November 2019.
With the upcoming election, Turkey will switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one that will increase the powers of the president.
The system was changed in an April 2017 referendum that was narrowly won by the government’s “yes” camp.
The constitutional changes passed in the vote give the next president new powers to appoint vice presidents, ministers, high-level officials and senior judges. They also allow the president to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees and impose states of emergency
In a related development, Turkey’s parliament is due to vote later on Wednesday on whether to prolong the state of emergency that was declared after the failed coup. Parliament is widely expected to extend the state of emergency for a seventh time despite calls at home and abroad for it to end.