Elections are expected to be the Turkish opposition’s best chance to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 20 years.
Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially announced.
“Our country will go to the polls on May 14 to elect its president and parliamentarians,” Erdogan said in a speech on Friday after signing the election decree.
The announcement was expected when Erdogan said in a speech last week that the Turkish nation would do “whatever it takes” on the date now officially announced as election day.
The election could be the most important vote in the country in decades, jeopardizing Erdogan’s two-decade reign over Turkey.
The opposition has united around Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the second largest party in parliament, the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
However, another prominent opposition leader, Meral Aksener, initially opposed Kilicdaroglu’s candidacy as prime minister and last week expressed doubts whether the former bureaucrat, who is seen by some as uncharismatic, could defeat Erdogan.
On Monday, Aksener announced her support for Kilicdaroglu.
Erdogan, whose popularity has declined as Turkey’s economic crisis continues, has been accused of authoritarianism by his opponents.
His government’s response to February’s devastating earthquakes in southeastern Turkey, which killed more than 46,000 people and left hundreds of thousands of people in tents or temporary accommodation, has also been criticized, though Erdogan has defended the government’s actions.
Erdogan, who has been Turkey’s leader since 2003 and has held the presidency since 2014, still has significant support and could rise to the top alongside his AK party.