Deputy PM: Turkey's ruling party ready for early elections

Deputy PM: Turkey's ruling party ready for early elections

"As a result of consultations with Mr. Bahceli, we chose to hold elections on June 24, 2018, a Sunday", said Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan surprised the country yesterday by announcing that a snap election would take place in June, 18 months earlier than originally planned.

In a speech broadcast live on television, he said it was also "urgent to switch to the new executive system in order to take steps for our country's future in a stronger way". The extended powers for the president were not due to take effect until after presidential polls which were previously due to take place before November 2019. Now, the victor of June's presidential vote - widely expected to be Erdogan - will be able to use them far quicker than had previously been planned.

Such a decision was made in consideration of the geopolitical developments and security issues that our country faces, he added.

Under the new system, the president will be able to prepare the budget and appoint high-level officials, including ministers and judges.

It is telling that even third countries, the United States among them, are publicly voicing concern over the danger of an "accident".

The elections will be held a year earlier than scheduled, and some experts said the decision was made because Erdogan is anxious his popularity would plummet before November 2019, when the next elections were originally scheduled.

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Turkey has been in a state of emergency since a failed military coup in 2016.

Media outlets have been shut down and scores of journalists have also been jailed.

Turkey has been involved in an operation against US-backed Kurdish militia forces in the north of Syria since January, and has expressed a desire to proceed from the province of Afrin to the northern city of Manbij.

"IYI Party is the most-ready party for the elections", she said.

The announcement came after opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli - whose party is set to enter the elections in an alliance with the AK Party - called for early elections.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) doesn't have a presidential candidate, nor is there a name in sight.