Political turbulence, economic strife, military intervention — or even a combination of all three — have meant that in the 75 years since competitive elections were held in 1946, the majority of elections were called early.
The last election was held in June 2018, meaning presidential and parliamentary elections must be held on
Sunday 25 June 2023
However, there are two routes to trigger a vote on an earlier date.
What do the polls say?
JamesInTurkey.com tracks the publicly-available Turkish voter intention surveys in its monthly poll of polls. It is a measure of people who, as far as we can determine, have explicitly said they will vote in the next election. Undecided voters are not included.
The most recent data is from January 2021.
- support for the governing AK Party has been on a gradual, downward trend throughout 2020;
- the centre-left CHP saw a notable uptick at the end of the year in response to a fiery parliamentary speech by its leader;
- support for the nationalist İYİ rose consistently in 2020;
- despite a wide-ranging boycott, the pro-Kurdish HDP’s support largely held steady throughout the year;
- Several new parties found their feet over the year, but none have yet registered significant levels of voter recognition.
A word of warning: the JamesInTurkey.com rolling average is as reliable as the polling data that feeds it and is not a scientific measure of Turkish voter intention. It does not balance between pro- and anti-government pollsters and it does not filter pollsters by reliability or data gathering methods.
What it does do is maintain a rolling average of the last month of polls published by known Turkish pollsters. It weighs this result down with the previous month of results, which helps give an idea of the trend in support while protecting the average against extreme outliers.
Past rolling averages
Eight significant political parties will be among those eligible to compete if the election is held after May 2021. The Turkish law on political party organisation means an election called before that date could exclude DEVA, although there are ways to circumvent this.
How to trigger an early vote
Under constitutional referendums passed in 2017, either the president or parliament can call an early election. The law contains a “double-lock” clause that an election must be held to elect the president and all 600 MPs on the same day. The two elections run in parallel and cannot be divided.
The president can trigger an election simply be deciding to hold one: a decree from his office is enough.
Parliament can trigger an election so long as three-fifths of all MPs — that’s 360 of them — vote for it. At present, neither the government nor the opposition command enough seats to do this without the other’s support.
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Can Erdoğan run again?
This is a more complicated question that it sounds. It depends on whether it is he (as president) or parliament that triggers the election. This topic is considered in copious detail in JamesInTurkey’s explainer page here.
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