Poverty may prompt snap elections in June 2021, says Turkish opposition leader

Turkey’s "disastrous’’ poverty levels may spark a snap election in June 2021, two years ahead of the scheduled polls, Turkish opposition centre right Good Party (İYİP) leader Meral Akşener said on Saturday.

Moreover, Turkey’s current political system is unable to carry the country, Akşener said, which will force the elections to be pushed ahead of the formally scheduled date of 2023.

"We are faced with a Turkey in which poverty is being managed. There is no esteem given to lawmakers. It is not possible for them to win the elections,’’ Cumhuriyet newspaper cited the İYİP leader as saying, referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) alliance.

Akşener’s remarks arrive as the Turkish lira lost 30 percent of its value since the beginning of the year, making the currency the worst performing in the emerging market in 2020. 

Steering the plunge in the lira are concerns over the central bank’s depleted foreign reserves, state interventions in currency markets and the risk of Western sanctions over Turkish foreign and defence policies.

"From what I can see, the elections could be around June 2021,’’ Akşener said. "Erdoğan does not like winter and I am expecting elections in June, as there should be. Because there is a disastrous poverty.’’

Turkey’s headline unemployment rate was reported as 13.2 percent in the July to September period, but the figure does not give the full picture of joblessness in the country. 

The government has barred companies from sacking workers during the coronavirus outbreak, placing them instead on unpaid leave or put on short working weeks.