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Assuming he wins presidential elections on June 24, the nation’s ruler said the last word on monetary policy should go to him — a signal the independent central bank will be operating on a short leash in its fight to stabilize the lira and rein in double-digit price increases.
“When the people fall into difficulties because of monetary policies, who are they going to hold accountable?” the 64-year-old president said in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday. “They’ll hold the president accountable."
The vote will mark the transformation of Turkey’s government into an executive presidency from a parliamentary system. Erdogan says the change is necessary to allow him to respond to citizens’ needs more efficiently.
His opponents think he already has too much power: Erdogan’s ruled the country for 16 years, and the last two have been under emergency law imposed after a July 2016 coup attempt.
Investors, who have been looking for signs the central bank will raise rates to anchor the currency, were less than thrilled at the prospect of Erdogan exercising more authority over economic policy. The lira weakened to a record against the dollar.
Gaza burns | As the Gaza Strip buries dozens killed in confrontations with Israeli troops, people there are weighing whether to resume protests that haven’t yielded anything tangible. Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers had called for a mass breach of the border with Israel today to mark the 70th anniversary of the “nakba,” or “catastrophe” of Palestinians’ displacement by the Jewish state’s 1948 creation. While Hamas wasn’t broadcasting appeals on mosque loudspeakers urging people to stream to the frontier as it did yesterday, when 59 people were killed, not everyone has given up. “We will carry on with our protests until someone listens to us and changes our difficult reality,” said Salama Isma’eel, a 36-year-old from Gaza City.
Brexit rebels | Britain’s quest to leave the European Union is riddled with infighting, and now another domestic political battle looks set to rumble on through the increasingly tricky negotiations. Barring an 11th-hour deal, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh is expected to withhold consent today for Theresa May’s key Brexit legislation. Rodney Jefferson and Jessica Shankleman look at how this adds to the prime minister’s difficulties.
Lobbying campaign | General Electric, U.S. Steel and Best Buy are among the U.S. companies and business groups lining up to oppose the Trump administration's plan to slap $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports. About 120 firms and industry groups are scheduled to testify at a hearing beginning today that will coincide with a trip by President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser to Washington for broader trade negotiations.
Southern strength | Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gained fresh momentum heading into next year’s general election after scoring a vote win in the south Indian state of Karnataka. The surprise result, which extends his party’s support from its core base in north and western India, is likely to boost markets after inconclusive exit polls had predicted a hung assembly.
Tightening his grip | Mahathir Mohamad may hang onto power in Malaysia a little longer than expected. Instead of stepping aside for coalition leader Anwar Ibrahim — who’s set to be released from jail Wednesday — Mahathir said he may stay on as prime minister for “one or two years.” It’s an early test of the fledgling government’s durability and an indication of new friction between the two former enemies.
And finally... When a New York jury convicted ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on bribery charges last week, the biggest winner might have been Preet Bharara, even though the former federal prosecutor was nowhere near the courtroom. It was Bharara who brought the case, and the verdict may have cemented his reputation as a crusading corruption fighter as he weighs a run for the suddenly vacant spot of state attorney general.
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