Turkey: Erdogan set to be first president directly chosen by voters
July 30, 2014
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is very likely to win the 10 August presidential election by a landslide. According to recent polls, Erdogan is comfortably in the lead with over 50.0% of the national vote, which would make a second round of elections unnecessary. Former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, which is supported by the two main opposition parties (the Republican People's Party and the Nationalist Movement Party), is likely to secure about 35.0% of the vote. Finally, Selahattin Demirtas, who was named as presidential candidate for the Kurdish political movement, is expected to garner 10.0%. This will be the first time the president is chosen directly by voters.
The presidency has historically been a largely ceremonial post, but Erdogan has vowed to strengthen the powers of the position. According to analysts, if Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) performs well enough in the June 2015 general elections, he will likely promote a constitutional reform in order to establish a presidential system. That said, amendments to the constitution require a two-thirds majority in parliament and the AKP currently controls only 56.9% of the National Assembly. While it is not yet clear who will replace Erdogan as the new prime minister, he will probably choose a candidate who is aligned with his political agenda.