Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for early elections on June 24, moving them forward by more than a year from their scheduled date.
Erdogan announced the decision in Ankara on Wednesday after meetings with Devlet Bahceli, leader of the nationalist party allied with Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party, and Binali Yildirim, the prime minister. The election is set to transform the political system of the region’s largest economy, eliminating the prime minister job and centralizing power in the presidency.
Erdogan’s ruling party has never called early elections in the nearly 16 years it’s been in power, and had repeatedly rejected speculation that it’d call them this year. Many analysts had predicted an early vote nonetheless, saying a deteriorating economic outlook would prompt Erdogan to change the date rather than risk seeking reelection in a downturn. Bahceli proposed on Tuesday that the vote be moved forward to Aug. 26 of this year from November 2019.