Turkish electorates will cast ballots for both the parliamentary and presidential elections on 24 of June 2018. The elections were planned to be held in November 2019, but president Erdogan called for early elections in the last April to overcome what he called the uncertainties in the region amid its ongoing military operations in Syria and Irak. It comes after a mid of political tensions and an economic hardship where the Turkish lira falling in value against the dollar. There is no doubt the significance of these elections where it considered as a turning point for the Turkish state, the country is moving from its parliamentary system to a presidential system.
Constitutional amendments made in the last year gives the president a substantial executive power compared to the symbolic position that president has in the current parliamentary system. Power to declare a state of emergencies, presidential decrees, the power to prepare the annual budget and the power to dissolve the parliament, are among the powers that president enjoys in the new system. On the other hand, the power of the parliament in terms of supervising the executive branch will be reduced.
The seats of the parliament will be increased from 550 seats to 650 seats and in the first time, young people at the age of the 18 years will be allowed to contest for the parliament. Nearly 10 political parties are contesting in the parliamentary elections with two main coalitions. The first qualition includes the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The opposite qualition includes the Republic People`s Party (CHP), the newly formed nationalist party İyİ Party, and the Islamists of the Felicity Party.
President Erdogan remains the most influential and popular political leader due to his milestone achievement since 2002. Under his leadership, the administration reigned in inflation and encouraged foreign direct investment leading to rising in per capita income, stronger credit ratings, balanced relations with its western alliance and close relations with its neighbouring countries before it deteriorated due to the Arap Spring.
Also, during his administration, the Turkish government implemented mega infrastructural, administration and legal reforms which pave the way for more solid democracy and to join the developing countries.
President Erdoğan will contest with nearly other four candidates. Certainly, the main opposition party candidate Moharrem İnce is expected to challenge president Erdoğan followed by Meral Akşener, the leader of the new nationalist İyİ Party.
Although the Turkish polls are notoriously unreliable, some recent surveys showed that president Erdoğan will win the first round. According to the latest survey by ORC Research Center, Erdogan is likely to obtain 53.4 per cent of the votes in the first round of the elections. The survey was conducted in between May 28 and June 1 in 37 provinces of Turkey. It’s more than the required percentage to be a president in the first round. Muharrem Ince the presidential candidate for Republic People`s Party (CHP) is expected to receive 24 per cent of votes, while the Good Party`s (İP) Meral Akşener would receive 11.5 per cent.
The elected president is expected to tackle and find solutions for the issues of unemployment, inflation, and income inequality. The prolonged war in Syria is another challenge for Turkey especially after Turkey`s direct involvement in the war in Syria.