Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced May 14 as the date for the country’s next parliamentary and presidential elections, confirming that Turkish voters will head to the polls a month earlier than he had previously flagged.
The announcement was made on Saturday during a youth conference in the northwestern province of Bursa. In a video of the event released Sunday, Erdogan — who’s seeking re-election — can be heard saying: “I thank God that we are destined to share our path with you, our valued youth, who will vote for the first time in the elections that will be held on May 14”.
Erdogan had first hinted at the elections being held on May 14 last week, but said on Sunday that he will make the formal call on March 10, after which Turkey‘s Supreme Election Council would prepare for the elections.
Erdogan, 68, has been in office since 2003 — first as prime minister and then, since 2014, as president –, but this year he’s expected to face difficult, tight elections as the country struggles with rising inflation and a troubled economy. It’s not yet clear what candidate will officially run against him, but opinion polls show Erdogan trailing against some potential challengers.
If no candidate secures more than 50 per cent of the vote, a second round of voting would be held on May 28.
This year’s elections should have been held on June 18, but members of the ruling AK Party (AKP) suggested moving the date to avoid a coincidence with summer and religious holidays.