Ceren Bayar / DUVAR
In the debate on "postponing the elections" that started in the aftermath of the Maraş-based earthquake that affected 11 provinces and killed tens of thousands of people, the general tendency in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been determined to not postpone the elections.
According to the AKP executives, it is not legally possible to postpone the elections to a date after June 18 and there is no obstacle to hold elections on May 14. Nonetheless, they said that June 18 might be considered as well if the schedule is tight.
The AKP executives said that there are several ways to hold the elections after the High Election Board's (YSK) operations in the earthquake zone.
The Parliament will resume its work on Feb. 28 after a three-week break following the earthquakes that caused massive destruction and deaths. The AKP's parliamentary group will bring up the establishment of an "Earthquake Research Commission" to the agenda, seeking consensus with the opposition for the establishment of this commission.
An AKP executive said, "It is not possible to conduct a normal election campaign. First we need to recover the disaster area."
Additionally, US-based Bloomberg reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and senior AKP executives met last week. According to the report titled "Erdoğan insists on an election date despite earthquakes," they stand firm on sticking to the calendar despite the quakes.
In the previous week, AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik and deputy chairperson of the party in charge of election affairs Ali İhsan Yavuz said it is not the right time to discuss elections.
Their remarks came a day after AKP’s heavyweight and former deputy prime minister Bülent Arınç called for the postponement of elections in the aftermath of two major earthquakes, sparking debates on "self-coup."
Opposition parties including the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) called for the government not to postpone elections against Arınç’s remarks.
Parliamentary and general elections are normally scheduled to be held in June 2023, five years after the 2018 elections. However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed on many occasions before the quakes that he will use his constitutional authority to call early elections for the date of May 14.
(English version by Can Bodrumlu)