Turkey set for tight election race
June 24, 2018 -- As Turkey votes in both parliamentary and presidential elections, incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party are well-placed to win the vote, but economic instability and an unusual alliance of opposition candidates could jeopardise his re-election bid.
Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics since the AKP swept to power in 2002. The president is still the nation’s most popular politician. But as Turkey grapples with deep social turmoil, some pollsters suggest that he could be at risk of losing his parliamentary majority – and even be forced into a second round run-off of the presidential contest for the first time.
Either scenario would be a crushing setback for a leader who relies on success at the ballot box to justify his domineering style of rule.
Three main opposition candidates — the Good Party's Meral Aksener, the Felicity Party's Temel Karamollaoglu, and the CHP's Muharrem Ince — have come together in an alliance based on little more than a common drive to oust Erdogan.
A fourth party, the Kurdish-dominated People’s Democratic Party (HDP), is not part of the pact but has received support from its rivals.
The elections will herald Turkey’s switch to the new presidency championed by Erdogan. The winner of the presidential election will become the most powerful ruler in the modern republic's history, thanks to constitutional amendments narrowly approved in a divisive referendum last year.
Others worry about the economic backdrop. The Turkish Lira plunged to new depths against the dollar, at one point down 20% compared to the start of the year, shaking confidence further in Erdoganomics.