December 9, 2023

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Turkish elections likely heading to a run-off;  Erdogan has the advantage  News

Turkish elections likely heading to a run-off; Erdogan has the advantage News

Neither the president nor the leading opposition candidate, Kilicdaroglu, has crossed the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a second round on May 28.

Turkey is likely to head to a runoff after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s share of the vote fell just below the 50 percent threshold needed to win with almost all votes counted, while opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who polls predicted would win, managed to edge out. the win. He won 45 percent of the vote.

Erdogan, 69, said he would respect the nation’s decision if the race went to a runoff scheduled for May 28. His main challenger in Sunday’s election, Kilicdaroglu, 74, acknowledged that a runoff appeared inevitable.

The incumbent, who faced the biggest challenge of his 20-year reign in this election, said he could still win in the first round. He managed to get 49.4 percent of the votes after more than 99 percent of the votes were counted.

We do not know yet if the elections ended in the first round. “If our nation opts for a second round, that is also welcome,” Erdogan said early Monday, noting that the votes of Turkish citizens living abroad still needed to be counted. He won 60 percent of the overseas vote in 2018.

“We are already ahead of our nearest rival by 2.6 million votes,” Erdogan said in the capital, Ankara. “We expect this number to rise with the official results.”

Supporters of Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) wave flags at the ruling party’s headquarters in Ankara [Umit Bektas/Reuters]

Results baffle expectations

Kilicdaroglu, speaking to reporters early Monday, expressed confidence in the run-off.

“If our nation declares the second round, we will definitely win the second round,” he said. “The will to change in society is above 50 percent.”

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This year’s election has largely focused on the economy, civil rights, and the February earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people.

Sonar Cagaptay, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, said the results confounded expectations, including the rise of the third candidate in the race, Sinan Ogan, who is “hostile to refugees and immigrants.”

“Erdogan is leading by about three percentage points or more,” he said from Ankara. “It’s surprising.” Even more surprising is the appearance of the third candidate in the elections. It wasn’t much of a vote, … but enough to be a spoiler.”

Cagaptay said both frontrunners will have to court 55-year-old Ogan to try to secure his victory in the now possible second round and grant him concessions.

Ogan was expelled from an ultra-nationalist party that has since joined Erdogan. He entered the campaign a few months before the vote.

“We will not say whether we will support this or that candidate,” Ogan said Sunday. “We will hold consultations with their representatives and then decide.”

In a report from the south-central city of Gaziantep, Zeina Khader of Al-Jazeera said that the majority won by Erdogan’s coalition in parliament gives him an advantage in the run-off.

She said, “Even if the opposition wins the run-off, it will be difficult for it to fulfill its promises, such as changing the system of government to a parliamentary system from a presidential one.”

Khadr said opposition supporters had expressed their disappointment with the results.

“There are members of the opposition who were disappointed because they felt that Kilicdaroglu was the wrong candidate because he was not able to connect with the party and keep conservative votes away from the party,” she said.

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Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition alliance, appears on stage at the headquarters of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Ankara on May 15, 2023, as votes continue to be counted. [Yves Herman/Reuters]

Voting process

Turkey’s election authority, the Supreme Elections Board, said it is providing numbers to competing political parties “immediately” and will announce the results once the counting is completed and finalized. Unofficial charges It is based on the state-run Anadolu News Agency.

The council said the majority of the 3.4 million eligible foreign voters still needed to be counted. It added that the May 28 run-off had not been confirmed.

With 93 percent of the votes counted, the People’s Alliance, led by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, was on course to win 324 seats in the 600-seat parliament. The Nation Alliance led by Kilicdaroglu, made up of six opposition parties, including the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), looked set to gain 211 seats.

Erdogan has ruled Türkiye either as prime minister or president since 2003.

As preliminary results began to come in on Sunday night, rival sides traded accusations, with Kilicdaroglu claiming his rivals were “preventing” the counting of votes while ruling Justice and Development Party spokesman Omer Celik said the CHP was guilty of sabotage.