ANKARA: Turkey (AP) — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey with an iron fist for the past 20 years, appeared to be headed for a second-round runoff on Monday, trailing his principal challenger but falling short of the votes needed for an outright victory.
Ahmet Yener, the head of the Supreme Electoral Board, informed reporters that with 99.4% of the domestic votes and 84% of the overseas votes counted, Erdogan had 49.4% of the votes and his primary opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, had 45%. Sinan Ogan, a nationalist politician, received 5.2% of the vote.
There were celebrations on Sunday outside the AKP (Justice and Development Party) headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, by supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A total of 64 million individuals, comprising 3.4 million overseas voters, were deemed eligible to participate in the voting process. The photograph is attributed to Khalil Hamra of the Associated Press.
President Erdogan, aged 69, addressed his supporters in the early hours of Monday, expressing his belief in the possibility of securing a victory. The individual expressed that they would honour the decision of the nation in the event that the race proceeds to a runoff on May 28th.
The election was under close scrutiny to determine whether the strategically positioned NATO nation, which shares borders with Iran, Iraq, and Syria to the south and has a northern coast on the Black Sea, will continue to be governed by an increasingly authoritarian president or will move towards a more democratic path as envisioned by Kilicdaroglu.
Opinion polls in the runup to Sunday’s vote had given Kilicdaroglu, the joint candidate of a six-party opposition alliance, a slight lead over Erdogan, who has governed Turkey as either prime minister or president since 2003.
Mr. Kilicdaroglu expressed optimism regarding the possibility of securing a victory in the second round.
Mr. Kilicdaroglu, aged 74, expressed confidence in winning the second round and ushering in democracy. He asserted that Mr. Erdogan had lost the trust of the nation, which is now seeking a change.
Ogan has not disclosed the candidate he would endorse in the event of a second-round election. It is believed that he garnered support from voters who sought a change in leadership after two decades under Erdogan. However, these voters were not convinced of the six-party alliance led by Kilicdaroglu’s capability to govern.
Assembly’s Legistalive Power
According to the election results, it appears that Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party will maintain its majority in the 600-seat parliament. However, it is worth noting that the assembly’s legislative power has been significantly reduced following a referendum in 2017, which narrowly approved a change in the country’s system of governance to an executive presidency.
According to the Anadolu news agency, the ruling party alliance led by Erdogan is currently at approximately 49.3% in terms of support. The Nation Alliance, led by Kilicdaroglu, is reported to have around 35.2% support, while a pro-Kurdish party has garnered over 10% support.
The retention of Erdogan’s majority enhances his prospects of securing victory in a potential second-round ballot. A greater number of voters are expected to back him. They want to support him prevent a divided legislature.
The current election took place against a backdrop of economic instability. A crisis related to the cost of living, and a devastating earthquake in February that resulted in the loss of over 50,000 lives. Western nations and foreign investors are closely monitoring the situation. This is due to President Erdogan’s unconventional approach to economic leadership. His dynamic yet effective efforts to position Turkey as a key player in global negotiations made him the center of attention.