Updated August. 11, 2014 07:16
Turkeys first direct presidential election was held on Sunday. In this election, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan runs for president as the candidate of the ruling Justice Development Party, while opposition party candidates are Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, former Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and Selahattin Demirtaş, leader of Peoples` Democratic Party.
If no candidate achieves a simple majority, a second round will be held on August 24 for the top two candidates. Yet in multiple polls, Erdogan has an approval rating of 53-55 percent, leading to expectations of an election completed without a second round. Opposition party candidate İhsanoğlu, former secretary-general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, has an approval rating of some 30 percent.
Therefore, this presidential election is highly likely to provide legal justification for Erdogan to stay at the top for another 10 years. Erdogan is serving for the 12th year as prime minister.
Blocked from serving a fourth term as prime minister due to Turkish constitution, Erdogan ran for president. He has been preparing for this for a long time, revising the constitution in 2007 to introduce a direct presidential election and changing the presidential term from a single, seven-year term to double, five-year terms. He has also announced that if he is elected president, he would change the national administration from a prime minister-centered system to one centered round the president. If things go as planned, Erdogan will be Turkeys highest ranking ruler, taking the helm from 2003 to 2022 at the latest.
Foreign media says if Erdogan is elected president, incumbent Turkish President Abdullah Gül is highly likely to be appointed the next prime minister. This arrangement invites comparison to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who combined to swap their positions of president and prime minister to stay in power for a long time. This has led to Erdogan to be dubbed a Putin of Turkey.