ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s weak opposition is scrambling to mount a meaningful challenge against strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with just nine weeks to prepare for snap elections.
One party leader is in jail. Another doesn’t have a candidate. A third might face eligibility issues for her party.
Erdogan set the presidential and parliamentary elections for June 24, in a move that will usher in a new system cementing the president’s grip on power more than a year ahead of schedule. Turkey is switching from a parliamentary system to an executive presidential system after a narrowly approved referendum last year, in the wake of a failed 2016 coup attempt.
The changes take effect with the next election, which had originally been set for November 2019.