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Erdoğan can’t run for president again if election is held as scheduled: opposition leader

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Leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cannot legally run for a third term as president if the election is held as scheduled in 2023, Turkish media outlets reported.

There are ongoing debates about whether Erdoğan can run for for a third term due to a change in the system since he was first elected president in 2014.

“If the election is held as scheduled, Erdoğan can’t run for president for a third time. If parliament calls for an early election, there will be no obstacle to Erdoğan’s candidacy for a third time,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in remarks to journalist Fikret Bila from the pro-opposition Halk TV news website on Tuesday.

He said Erdoğan running for president for a third time in a scheduled election would violate the constitution.

Erdoğan was first elected president for a five-year renewable term in 2014 by a direct vote under the parliamentary system. Turkey switched to presidential system of governance with a referendum in 2017 and held snap presidential and parliamentary polls in 2018, when Erdoğan was elected president again. Under the presidential system, a person can be elected president for a five-year renewable term if the election is held as scheduled.

Some claim Erdoğan is not legally eligible to run in the 2023 presidential election because he already served two terms and cannot run for a third.

Leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli said over the weekend Erdoğan can run in the presidential election of 2023 and that there’s no legal obstacle standing in the way of his candidacy.

Bahçeli’s remarks came during a meeting with party lawmakers at the weekend during which he focused on claims suggesting that Erdoğan, an election ally of the MHP, is not eligible to run for president again.

The MHP leader also said if there was a need for a constitutional amendment to change the election of the president to three renewable terms, his party and the AKP would do their best to make that happen.

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