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Turkey to hold snap elections on 24 June, says Erdoğan

Turkey to hold snap elections on 24 June, says Erdoğan

The small Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) nationalist party headed by Devlet Bahceli is believed to have supported the call for the early vote.

After a meeting with Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkey's main nationalist party, Erdogan announced that the presidential and parliamentary elections originally scheduled for November 2019 will now be held June 24.

"We discussed Mr Bahceli's call with our relevant authorities".

Numerous new powers were not expected to take effect until after the polls, which were scheduled to take place in November 2019.

The report also called for Turkey to lift a state of emergency that allows the president and the government to bypass parliament in passing new laws and to suspend rights and freedoms.

Meanwhile, the parliament on Wednesday approved a fresh three-month extension to a state of emergency, which was enforced after a failed coup against Erdogan in July 2016.

Bahceli supported the referendum past year, saying it would result in a "strong political power to ensure that the Turkish Republic survives into the future".

Erdogan cited economic instability, the recent operation in northern Syria and a need "to overcome uncertainty" to bring forward polls from their planned November 2019 date.

After holding another meeting in Ankara on December 1, Yildirim and Bahceli declared they had reached an agreement.

Turkey's main opposition party accuses the government of misusing its emergency powers to erode democracy and arrest government critics. Under the system the position of prime minister will be abolished and parliament's role will be much diminished to create a presidential republic instead of a parliamentary one.

The ruling AKP is expected to campaign in an alliance with the minority Nationalist Movement Party, whose leader had lobbied for early elections.

The PKK has been designated a terror group by Turkey, the USA and the EU.

There was also speculation over the participation of the newly formed Iyi Party, which is seen as a electoral potential threat to both the AKP and CHP.

The MHP chief's intervention surprised commentators since the government led by Erdogan has repeatedly insisted there will be no early elections. Under electoral regulations, a party must have held its first national congress at least six months prior to an election.

Analysts had said that the state of the Turkish economy could have tempted the government to consider the early election call and hold polls before there is any serious deterioration.

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