Elections in Turkey: Conte shows President Erdogan below the threshold necessary to avoid a runoff

Early results from Turkey’s closely watched presidential election show support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has fallen below the majority required to win, signaling a likely runoff later this month.

With more than 90% of the polls counted on Sunday, Erdogan won just under 50% of the vote, according to the state news agency Anadolu. His main challenger, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, had 44.4% as the gap between the two narrowed.

Erdogan's elections in Türkiye

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with supporters at a polling station, in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday, May 14, 2023. (DHA via AP)

To further complicate the picture, both sides accused the Anadolu Agency of manipulating the figures. Members of Kilicdaroglu’s centre-left Republican People’s Party, or CHP, argued that the state agency was biased in favor of Erodgan.

“We are ahead,” tweeted Kilicdaroglu, 74, who ran as the candidate of a six-party opposition alliance.


Meanwhile, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party accused the opposition of “an attempt to assassinate the national will” saying the state news agency was distorting results. He called the opposition’s statements “irresponsible”.

If neither candidate gets more than 50%, the two will compete in a runoff election on May 28.

An increasingly authoritarian ruler, Erdogan, 69, has ruled Turkey as prime minister or president for two decades.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the 74-year-old leader of the centre-left Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition alliance, and his wife Selvi Kilicdaroglu cast their ballots at a polling station in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, May 14, 2023 . (AP Photo/Ali Unal)

The presidential race has focused on domestic issues such as the economy, civil rights and the February earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people. Erdogan’s administration has faced sharp criticism over its handling of the earthquake, exacerbated by lax implementation of building codes.

While Erdogan hoped to win a five-year term that would take him into his third decade as Turkey’s leader, Kilicdaroglu has vowed to put the country back on a more democratic path and repair its economy, hit by high inflation and devaluation. of the currency. .

More than 64 million people, including 3.4 million foreign voters, were eligible to vote. This year marks 100 years since the establishment of Turkey as a republic, a modern and secular state born on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.


Kilicdaroglu’s Nation Alliance pledged to return Turkey’s governing system to a parliamentary democracy if it won both the presidential and parliamentary ballots. He also promised to restore the independence of the judiciary and the central bank and to lift the crackdown on free speech and other forms of democratic setbacks in Turkey.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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