Turkey heads into runoff election as Erdogan falls short of majority

Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu are staring at a runoff vote after none of them managed to secure the necessary 50% votes

BS Web Team New Delhi


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Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not secure any outright majority in Sunday's election, setting the stage for a runoff vote with the Opposition's Kemal Kilicdaroglu of Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP) (translated to Republican People's Party in English) on May 28.
This election is being viewed as a crucial referendum on Erdogan's increasing authoritarian style of governance.

This election will not only determine the future of leadership in Turkey but also the nation's stance on issues such as secularism, democracy, and key international relations as well as, also addressing major issues within the country such as the cost of living crisis.
What are runoff elections?

Turkish election law stipulates that if no candidate receives 50 per cent of the votes, the leading two candidates will have to participate in a direct contest, called a runoff election. Even though Erdogan gained the most votes on Sunday, May 14, this is not enough for his re-election as President.
Turkey's election board showed Erdogan leading with 49.49 per cent, after 91.93 per cent of ballot boxes were opened. Kilicdaroglu had 44.49 per cent of the votes and the remaining were secured by Sinan Ogan, the leader of the ATA Alliance party.

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Ogan, with the remaining 5.3 per cent votes could play a decisive role in the runoff, depending on the candidate he chooses to endorse.
Erdogan continues to be confident of his victory and continuing his two-decade-long rule over Turkey, despite not securing the majority in the first round, which shows a significant drop in public confidence.

Kilicdaroglu has accused Erdogan's party, AKP, of meddling with vote counting and the reporting process while telling his supporters to remain optimistic about the final outcome.
According to the Opposition, the AKP was lodging objections to delay the release of the complete results and that the authorities were publishing the results in a manner that artificially inflated Erdogan's vote count.

The 45-day election cycle was riddled with misinformation and the deployment of deepfake videos. Going into a runoff would only increase the spread of misinformation and along with the uncertainty of the political landscape will shake up the market, according to the Guardian.
According to Reuters, the opinion polls had predicted a tight-knitted race between AKP and CHP, however, it had favoured Kilicdaroglu. Erdogan has outperformed these pre-election polls had predicted and this vote has given him an edge heading forward into the runoff.

First Published: May 15 2023 | 6:33 PM IST

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