Turkey to hold general election on May 14, one month earlier than planned

© Adem Altana, AFP

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Turkey's elections will be held on May 14 -- a month earlier than scheduled -- as the opposition still searches for a unified candidate to stand against him.

This could prove to be the most challenging election in Erdogan's two-decade rule; which has seen economic booms, giant development projects as well as disputes with neighbours, wars and a failed coup.

"I will use my authority ... (to) bring the election date forward to May 14," Erdogan said in a video from his meeting with young people in northwestern city of Bursa this weekend.

Turkey's next general election was officially due on June 18.

"This is not an early election but bringing it forward," Erdogan said during the video broadcast shared by his office.

The Turkish leader said that they had agreed on an adjustment to the timetable with its junior right-wing coalition partner to avoid disrupting the school exam schedules.

Time ticking

The election campaign is due to start on March 10, which would give the Turkish opposition even less time to prepare.

They have been trying for months to agree on a single candidate to challenge Erdogan at the polls.

While Turkey's high inflation and weakening currency could help their cause, internal disagreements play to Erdogan's advantage.

He has been using the government's dominance in the media to control the nation's political debate.

An opposition party source told AFP this week that their joint candidate would be announced in February.


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