Wait, again?

Yes, yes. Just last week, Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) claimed victory in both the presidential and parliamentary elections, with Erdogan taking 53% of the votes in the presidential elections, defeating closest rival Muharrem Ince (31%). His party won 42% of the seats available, while opposition party CHP won 23% of the seats. The voter turnout was high at nearly 87%, and was declared a “healthy” election by the High Election Board (YSK). Turkey was still in a state of emergency during the elections, which was imposed after the 2016 coup.

So, what has changed?

Erdogan’s upcoming five year term will be different because of the referendum held last year, which has abolished the role of the Prime Minister, and placed more powers under the presidency. These include the ability to directly appoint new ministers and officials, the power to intervene in Turkey’s legal system, and the power to impose a state of emergency – all without parliamentary approval. These powers are feared by critics to be too concentrated in the hands of a single person, which may be abused with a lack of proper checks and balances.

Under the new system, Erdogan can stand for a third term when his current term finishes, which means that he could be President until 2028 – a long time to consolidate his power at the top. Nobody’s sure what will happen in these years, with Erdogan still drawing divided opinions over his actions as a leader, especially with his crackdown on political opponents. Muharrem Ince accepted defeat, but maintained that the elections were “unjust”, and feared that the new system will lead to a “very dangerous” one-man rule.

 

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