Erdogan to stay Turkey PM, contest presidential election

Ankara: Turkey’s Higher Election Board (YSK) unanimously ruled Saturday that Recep Tayyip Erdogan can take part in the country’s presidential race while keeping his post as prime minister.

The YSK said it is a constitutional right for Erdogan to take part in the presidential race without leaving his post, adding that it rejected all 15 requests calling for forcing Erdogan to resign, Xinhua reported.

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Turkey’s presidential election will be held Aug 10.

The Turkish opposition parties have been calling on Erdogan to resign as the prime minister to race equally for presidency.

The board also ruled that political party leaders can remain in their posts during the election campaign.

Erdogan is the chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), while another presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas is the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP).

Erdogan, 60, has been serving as Turkey’s prime minister since 2003.

Party rules have barred him from a third term as the head of government.

The prime minister will compete with two other candidates in the elections.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is a joint candidate nominated by two opposition parties, the Nationalist Movement Party and the main opposition Republican People’s Party.