Turkey’s main opposition vows to triple welfare spending as inflation soars

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party has promised to increase welfare spending and to write off loans for low-income citizens ahead of the elections scheduled for the summer of 2023.

The leader of the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Sunday he would triple the share of social welfare spending to around 12 percent of the $300 billion state budget as he vowed to negotiate non-performing loans owed by the lowest income groups with banks, Duvar news site reported.

The CHP leader is a likely presidential candidate for the opposition bloc against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan next June. The Turkish leader, after two decades in power, has seen lower and lower poll numbers as Turkey battles an economic crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation rates above a 24-year hight of 80 percent, and a currency that is rapidly losing its value as his country counts down to the next polls.

“Non-performing loans owed by the lowest income groups will have to be negotiated with banks and eventually erased,” Duvar sited the CHP leader as telling journalists at a press conference in Istanbul, as he promised to enact “family support insurance’’ for those in need.

Earlier this month, Kılıçdaroğlu announced his willingness to run as a presidential candidate in the elections slated for June 2023 should the alliance of which his CHP is a part of agree on his candidacy.

Erdoğan’s management of the economy, which has included ordering the central bank to cut to repeatedly cut interest rates, despite rising consumer inflation, has pummelled investor confidence in Turkey and hurt his government’s popularity.

Support for Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) among Turkish voters measured at 33.3 percent in August, according to the results of an opinion poll held by Ankara-based research company Metropoll, down from 42.6 percent in the 2018 elections.

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