The Aug. 10 Turkish presidential election — the first time the voters will directly elect their president — is unlikely to be a nail-biter. Nonetheless, this will herald a new era of constitutional crises and increased polarization. This is because Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, favored to win the election, has already indicated that he will try to govern the country from the presidential palace despite the fact that the constitution unequivocally empowers parliament and its selected prime minister as the center of executive power.
While it is not clear how Erdogan will achieve a transfer of power away from parliament, the outcome of the elections themselves will be key to his strategy. There are two other candidates of note other than him. His main competition, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, is the joint choice of the two main opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP). The pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP) has also filed a candidate, Selahattin Demirtas.