President Tayyip Erdogan officially set Turkey’s parliamentary and presidential elections for May 14, a month ahead of schedule, signing the decision in a ceremony shown live on television on Friday.
“Our nation will go to the polls to elect its president and parliamentarians on May 14,” Erdogan said in a speech after signing the election decision.
Erdogan set the clock ticking for the biggest test of his 20-year rule that will decide not only who leads Turkey but how it is governed, where its economy is headed and what role it may play to ease conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East.
On Monday, Turkey’s six-party main opposition alliance named Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), as its presidential candidate to challenge Erdogan.
Polls suggest that the presidential and parliamentary votes will be tight, with the opposition bloc running slightly ahead of the governing alliance.
The bloc has vowed to reverse many of Erdogan’s policies on the economy, civil rights and foreign affairs in what many see as the most consequential election in the republic’s 100-year history.