There was a concern in the public that the move to postpone the elections would be made by the ruling party based on the assumption that the government would be in a stronger position in the elections as the effects of the earthquake's destruction are alleviated over time.
However, although pulling the elections forward is rare in presidential systems, it is a very common practice, especially in parliamentary systems. Yet, the postponement of elections has been linked to extraordinary exceptional situations and difficult conditions in democratic systems. According to the constitution, elections can only be postponed under the condition that the country should be at war. Although some jurists interpret the earthquake as a necessity in line with the statement of the Constitutional Court on June 15, 2012, "In the event of a necessity arising from war or any other reason, if the elections cannot be held, the president whose term has expired will continue to serve, even if there is no postponement decision". We can also say that this broad interpretation will undermine democratic institutions.
As a matter of fact, the opposition parties rightly stated that, in accordance with the constitutional provision that stipulates that elections can only be postponed for up to one year in case of war, such a decision by the government would be unconstitutional and would constitute an anti-constitutional and anti-democratic deviation like a coup. In fact, since the declaration of a state of emergency in the region to cope with the problems caused by the earthquake disaster, there will be no need to postpone the elections anyway, since it is aimed at returning to the normal situation in the earthquake area in a short time. Fortunately, President Erdoğan, in his speech at the group meeting of his party on Tuesday, February 28, confirmed that the elections would be held on the date he had previously announced, by saying "I hope this nation will do what is necessary on May 14", thus eliminating the concerns about the postponement of the elections. However, if the election date becomes clear as May 14, the President must decide on an early election on March 10 at the latest.
Although we have witnessed that many democratic institutions and practices have been eliminated or weakened by this government in recent years, we have not had any discussions about the postponement of the elections. Although the emergence of these discussions after the earthquake worried the public and opposition parties, we would like to state that we welcome the political consensus that the elections will not be postponed at the end of the day.
5 https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/deprem-bilimci-prof-dr-ovgun-ahmet-ercan-gozaltina-alindi-haber-1606062 ; https://artigercek.com/guncel/gazeteci-gokhan-ozbek-hakkinda-gozalti-karari-241022h
13 https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/ilanlar/eskiilanlar/2023/02/20230221-4-6.pdf ; https://susma24.com/visnenin-cinsiyeti-kitabina-muzir-yayin-karari/
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The Freedom Observer #4
Yayın & Yazar
The Freedom Observer
We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.