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Election authority dismisses objections, gives green light to Erdoğan’s presidential candidacy

Turkey's Supreme Election Board

Turkey's Supreme Election Board

Turkey’s top election authority has announced that there is no legal obstacle to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s running as a presidential candidate for a third term, rejecting numerous objections challenging his nomination, the T24 news website reported.

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced its decision on Thursday after reviewing the objections to Erdoğan’s candidacy. YSK President Ahmet Yener said the board’s members unanimously rejected all the objections filed against Erdoğan’s candidacy in the May 14 presidential election.

Five opposition parties and members of the legal community recently filed petitions with the YSK against Erdoğan’s candidacy.

Questions have arisen about whether Erdoğan can run for a third term due to a change in the system of governance in 2017, with some claiming he is not legally eligible because he has already served two terms and cannot run for a third.

Erdoğan was first elected president for a five-year renewable term in 2014 by a direct vote under a parliamentary system. Turkey switched to the presidential system of governance with a referendum in 2017 and held snap presidential and parliamentary elections 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.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) turned a blind eye to the objections made to Erdoğan’s candidacy and claim there is no obstacle standing in his way.

The main rival of Erdoğan, who is facing the most challenging election in his political career due to a backsliding in the country’s economy and democracy as well as its government’s poor handling of an earthquake disaster last month, is Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the presidential candidate of an opposition bloc of six parties.

Yener said objections were also filed against the candidacy of Kılıçdaroğlu, as well as that of Homeland Party leader Muharrem İnce, which were also rejected. He said all three candidates will be able to run in the election.

There is also another contender in the presidential race, Sinan Oğan, who was nominated by an alliance of four far-right parties.

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