Only a number of days are left for the early elections in Turkey. This time, the Turkish electorate will cast ballots for both members of Parliament and the president for the next five years. A total of eight parties are running for the parliamentary election while six candidates are running for president.
However, the crucial question regarding the elections is who the next president will be since the president will take on a more active role in the new system adopted with the April 16 referendum.
The favorite candidate is incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He is supported by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), who are the ruling power in the country for the past 16 years, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), who formed an alliance with the former. The polls show the vote share of the AK Party around 45-50 percent while the MHP is around 10 percent. According to the average of the polls, the vote share of Erdoğan is above 50 percent.
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), the founding party of the modern Turkish Republic in 1923, which has not been able to come to power alone since the introduction of the multi-party system in 1950, nominated Muharrem İnce for the presidential race.
The polls show İnce's vote share around 20-30 percent. Achieving to address a considerable part of the electorate throughout his election campaign, İnce is believed to become the next chairman of the CHP even if he does not win the presidential election since the party's incumbent Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's prestige was damaged to a great extent because he did not join the presidential race.
The third presidential candidate is Meral Akşener, who is running for president for her newly-founded Good Party (İP), which formed an alliance with the CHP. According to the polls, Akşener's vote share is around 10 percent.
Selahattin Demirtaş, who is currently jailed pending trial, is the presidential candidate of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). It is highly debated and an open question as to whether the HDP will be able to exceed the 10 percent election threshold.
The other candidates are the Felicity Party's (SP) candidate Temel Karamollaoğlu, whose vote share is around 2 percent according to the polls, and the Patriotic Party (VP) candidate Doğu Perinçek, who is looking to receive 1 percent.
The second round will be held on July 8 in case no presidential candidate is able to pass the 50 percent election threshold. İnce is predicted to be the possible candidate against Erdoğan in the second round.
Although the polls seem in favor of Erdoğan, all the parties and candidates are maintaining their campaigns with great enthusiasm, which is a positive picture for the future of Turkey's democracy.
It is important to point out that despite all the criticism against Turkey's democratic values and objections as to why Turkey should not go to the polls in a state of emergency, the election process shows that all the candidates are running their election campaigns freely in each and every city in Turkey. The June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections will be a proof that Turkey's incontestable democracy is a free and fair one.
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