Earthquake: Erdogan Shifts Turkey Elections To May


President Tayyip Erdogan indicated on Wednesday that elections will be held on May 14, sticking to his previous plan for the vote.

The date indicated for the election is just over three months after a devastating earthquake killed more than 45,000 people in Turkey.

“This nation will do what is necessary on May 14, God willing,” Erdogan said in a speech to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party in parliament in an apparent reference to elections seen as representing his biggest ever political challenge.

There had been conflicting signals over the likely timing of the presidential and parliamentary elections since last month’s earthquake.

Some suggests that it could be postponed until later in the year or could be held as scheduled on June 18.

Before the disaster, Erdogan’s popularity had been eroded in recent years by soaring inflation and a slump in the lira which hit living standards.

However, some opinion polls in recent months had shown signs of a pick-up in his support.

Erdogan has faced a wave of criticism over his government’s handling of the deadliest quake in the nation’s modern history.

He, however, defended Ankara’s response on Wednesday, saying it had been caught up in “a storm of earthquakes”.

In a speech accompanied by a video showing all the state had done in response to the disaster he said “we will build better buildings in place of those which collapsed. We will win hearts and we will unroll a new future in front of our people.’’

Erdogan, aiming to extend his rule into a third decade, had previously said he was bringing the votes forward to May to avoid holidays in June.

Doubts had been expressed about the ability of election authorities to prepare and make logistical arrangements for the voting of those affected in the quake zone, home to some 14 million people.

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