Erdoğan again rules out early elections despite repeated calls from opposition

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again rejected calls from opposition parties to hold early elections, saying the elections will be held in June 2023 as scheduled, local media reported on Tuesday.

Speaking during a meeting of provincial chairs from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the president on Tuesday said they wouldn’t hold snap elections, claiming that his party’s Public Alliance is currently able to garner 52 percent of the nationwide vote.

Erdoğan’s remarks come as the most recent polls show a more than 10 percent loss of votes for the Public Alliance, formed by the AKP and its far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), since the last elections held in 2018 and as the Turkish lira plunges to record lows against the US dollar.

“[The opposition is] still [calling for] early elections. … There will be no early elections, [they’ll be held in] June 2023. … Primitive societies hold elections every 15 or 20 months. We are a [political] party that embraces the practices of the modern world, and we are the Public Alliance,” Erdoğan said.

“We came in first in every election we ran in, without exception. We have never dropped below 50 percent [of the vote] in alliances, which are a part of the new system. Why is it that right now the opposition … is bending over backwards [for an early election]? [Because] they know they can’t outdo the successes of the AKP and MHP,” the president added.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Meral Akşener, his ally and the leader of the nationalist İYİ (Good) Party, last week called on Erdoğan to hold a snap election, accusing his AKP government of poor management of the economy.

The leaders reiterated their call after the central bank cut its policy rate by 100 basis points to 15 percent on Thursday, in line with a call a day earlier by Erdoğan, who is widely criticized for subscribing to the unorthodox belief that high interest rates cause high inflation instead of slowing it down, and despite the plunge of the Turkish lira.

Imprisoned Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), also said in a series of tweets last week that the only way out of Turkey’s financial troubles was to hold a snap election that would end the rule of the AKP.

Critics have been complaining about the country’s one-man rule, particularly after the presidential system of governance went into effect in Turkey in 2018 under which Erdoğan was elected the first president, enjoying vast powers.

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