Turkey’s former election board head says Erdoğan cannot run for office for third time

Turkey's former Supreme Election Board (YSK) head Tufan Algan has stated that President Erdoğan cannot run for the office for the third time while speaking on the debates on if the AKP leader can legally be a candidate. However, the YSK accepted Erdoğan's application to be candidate despite the Constitution puts a two-term limit on the presidency.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan voting in a school in Istanbul for the local elections on March 31, 2019 (AA)

Duvar English

Turkey's former Supreme Election Board (YSK) head Tufan Algan has said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cannot become a presidential candidate for the third time.

Algan told Orhan Uğurluoğlu from the daily Yeniçağ that “(Main opposition) CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had previously stated that Erdoğan cannot be a candidate for the third time. I also think that he cannot be nominated for the third time.”

“He can be a candidate only if the parliament calls for early election,” Algan added. Algan was the head of the YSK between 1996 and 2004.

However, the YSK on March 24 unanimously ruled to accept the application of Erdoğan to be presidential candidate in the 14 May election.

The move came alongside with the debates on if Erdoğan can legally run for office for a third time.

Erdoğan became president for the first time in the presidential elections held in 2014.

He later took office as the first president of the new executive presidential system in the elections held in June 2018. Under the new system, a person can be elected president at most two times.

Pro-government circles say that there is no legal obstacle for Erdoğan to be nominated once again under the new system because the presidency has assumed a different role with the 2017 constitutional reform. However, critics point out that Article 101 of the Turkish Constitution puts a two-term limit on the presidency. A change in the Constitution for this issue needs the votes of two-thirds majority in parliament (400 lawmakers) which the ruling alliance falls short of achieving.

According to critics, another way for Erdoğan to become a candidate was the Parliament deciding to hold early elections with the approval of 360 lawmakers out of 600.

However, Erdoğan used his constitutional authority to call early elections for the date of May 14 as the ruling People's Alliance fails to reach 360 seats in the Parliament with 334 lawmakers.