Türkiye’s ruling Justice and Development Party and its nationalist allies have submitted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s request for re-election in the May 14 elections to the Supreme Electoral Council.
The move has revived heated debates over whether or not the constitution allows Erdogan to run for a third term.
“It’s legally impossible for Erdogan to be a candidate again,” opposition politician Idris Sahin said on Tuesday, adding that his Democracy and Progress Party would challenge Erdogan’s candidacy.
According to the Turkish constitution, the presidential term extends for five years and a president can be elected for a maximum of two terms.
Erdogan was elected president for the first time in 2014, and was re-elected in 2018.
Erdogan argues that his candidacy is legal, as the two-term rule was introduced in 2017, so the first term isn’t counted.
Many observers consider the May race to be one of the most important elections in modern Turkish history.
Erdogan is competing in the elections amid the worst economic problems facing the country in decades, exacerbated by a devastating earthquake last month.
It is noteworthy that Erdogan’s main rival, Kamal Kılıçdaroğlu, the candidate of the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party, has renewed his hopes to overthrow Erdogan, and he has the support of five other opposition parties, and he may also have the support of a pro-Kurdish party.
The Supreme Elections Council will announce a final and official list of presidential candidates on March 31.