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  Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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The Turkish prime minister's party has submitted to parliament a call for early elections
The Turkish prime minister's party has submitted to parliament a call for early elections, the country's leading TV channel said Wednesday. The Justice and Development Party (also known as AK), headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants early legislative elections to be held June 24 and proposes electing the president by direct vote for a five-year term, two terms maximum, with the minimum age for voting being lowered to 25, the NTV network reported. The Turkish Constitutional Court had dismissed the first round of the presidential vote in parliament Tuesday because too few deputies (370, six less than required) of the AK-dominated legislature turned up. Foreign minister Abdullah Gul, a member of AK and the only candidate for the presidency, responded by reiterating a call for early elections to the legislature and said the political system should move to direct presidential elections. Parliament is to re-run the presidential vote Thursday. The news caused the Turkish stock market to lose over $20 billion, with the national index ISE National-100 plummeting by 7.11%. The Turkish currency also dropped against the dollar and euro, rebounding slightly as trading re-opened Wednesday morning. Standard & Poor's keeps Turkey's ratings flat, while Citigroup has recommended investors to start bowing out of the country. Erdogan has avoided talking about his own presidential ambitions in the wake of protests earlier this month across the country, against what is portrayed by the powerful pro-secular military, and widely seen by the public, as a gradual slide toward Islamism, contrary to the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's modern "founding father" and symbol of secular identity.
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