Erdoğan’s Run for the Presidency for the Third Time
The constitutional provision that came into force with the constitutional amendment made in 2017 clearly states that a person can be "elected as President twice at most" (art. 101/2). In this case, there appears to be a constitutional obstacle before Erdogan's candidacy for the third time. However, there is an opportunity in the constitution that makes it possible for Erdoğan to be a candidate for the third time at the end of his second term in office. Considering this possibility in the 2017 referendum, the government added a provision that paved the way for Erdogan's third presidential term. This opportunity, however, is limited by a provision in the constitution: “If the Parliament decides to renew the elections in the second term of the President, the President can be a candidate once again” (art. 116/3). Considering the current composition of the Parliament, this seems rather unlikely: in order to postpone the election to an early date, one has to secure the 3/5 majority of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which is the affirmative vote of at least 360 deputies. However, this does not seem possible for the government without the support of the opposition parties.
In this situation where a qualified majority is not achieved in the parliament, pulling the election forward on May 14th can only be realized with the direct decision of the President to dissolve the parliament. In this scenario, if the president, not the parliament, decides to renew the elections, it would be unconstitutional for Erdoğan to be a candidate for the third time.
Another discussion about bringing the election date forward is about whether the changes made in the election law on April 6, 2022, will be applied in the elections planned to be held on May 14, 2023. Some jurists state that the election law is a law that regulates not only the election day but also the election process, so an election to which the current election law will be applied can only be announced in the Official Gazette after 6 April 2023. In this scenario, considering the 60-day election calendar, it is not possible for the elections to take place on May 14th. If the government insists on holding the elections on May 14th , the President must take the decision to renew the election on March 9th at the latest and publish it in the Official Gazette. In this case, the amendments made in the election law on April 6, 2022 will be illegal to apply in the elections to be held on May 14th.
Although these reservations are expressed by opposition parties and many jurists, the ruling bloc does not take these criticisms seriously. As a matter of fact, AKP group vice chairman Turan replied, "Let the YSK discuss Erdogan's candidacy. You, above all, announce your candidate". It should be noted that it is the norm in democratic countries that such legal debates revolve around high judicial bodies. However, in the recent past, the decisions of many judicial institutions, especially the YSK, that serve the interests of the political power confine this issue to the axis of politics and damage the credibility of the decisions to be taken from now on.
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The Freedom Observer
We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.