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After earthquake disaster: Erdogan decree: Early elections in Turkey on May 14th

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The Turks are to elect a new parliament and a new president in two months. After the devastating earthquake catastrophe, sharp criticism of the government’s crisis management has been voiced.

The parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey will take place on May 14th. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a corresponding decree on Friday, and shortly thereafter the election authority confirmed the date. The elections come just three months after the devastating earthquakes that killed more than 47,000 people in Turkey alone and displaced many and left them homeless.

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The elections should actually have taken place in June, Erdogan had already brought an earlier date into play in January. Against the background of the devastating earthquake, it was important not to lose any time, said Erdogan, who wants to run again. However, whether he is legally allowed to compete again is highly controversial. According to the Turkish constitution, early elections can be ordered either with 60 percent of the votes in parliament or by presidential decree.

As further reasons for the new date, Erdogan named the collision with the main pilgrimage time for Muslims to Mecca and with exams in universities. However, observers also assume that the 69-year-old will prefer the election so that election gifts such as doubling the minimum wage do not go to waste against the background of high inflation. Since the severe earthquakes a month ago, the government has also had to face harsh criticism of its crisis management.

So far there has been an opponent

For Erdogan, who has been in power for 20 years, the vote is likely to be the most challenging of his career, not only in view of the aftermath of the earthquake. His poll numbers have been at a low for a long time. At the same time, however, the individual opposition parties cannot unite a clear majority.

One challenger has already been identified: Kemal Kilicdaroglu from the opposition party with the most votes, the CHP, is running as the joint candidate of an alliance of six parties.

Following the presidential decree, the electoral authority publishes a timetable for the period leading up to the vote. The infrastructure is currently being evaluated in the regions affected by the earthquake, said Mehmet Rüstü Tiryaki, YSK member of the pro-Kurdish party HDP of the dpa.

Difficult conditions in the earthquake area

According to government figures, 230,000 buildings were destroyed or rendered unusable by the tremors. More than three million people have been evacuated from the region, with at least 1.5 million living in tents. According to Tiryaki, schoolyards should be used there for the election.

The HDP, currently the second-strongest opposition party in parliament, is not a member of the alliance, but has promised to support Kilicdaroglu as well. In the past, for example, it was the votes of the party’s majority Kurdish voters that decided victory or defeat.

Source: Stern

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