Turkish government’s far-right ally against snap general election

The leader of the far-right party allied to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the governing alliance’s defeat in the rerun election for mayor of Istanbul should not lead to a snap general election, the pro-government Sabah newspaper said on Monday.

The secular main opposition’s Ekrem İmamoğlu secured Sunday’s vote with an increased majority from the slim margin with which he won the polls in March, before Erdoğan’s Islamists cried foul and the electoral authority ordered the ballot be held again.

The defeat, a major blow to the prestige and patronage network of the ruling party, led some pro-government commentators to talk of holding a snap election to shore up Erdoğan’s power. The president’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) relies on support from the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for a majority in parliament and the allies supported a single candidate in the Istanbul mayoral polls.

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said he was against holding an early election. The last parliamentary polls were held last year and a new vote is not due until 2023.

“Turkey should now return to its real agenda and end the election process,” Sabah quoted Bahçeli as saying. “Talking about early elections will be one of the biggest evils to do to this country.”

Bahçeli did not congratulate Istanbul's newly elected mayor, but said the election results should be respected.

Erdoğan also appears to be against holding fresh elections, saying late on Sunday that his government would pursue the goals it has set itself to achieve for 2023.