A run-off between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main rival, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, is yet to take place A tight electoral race in Türkiyesaid the country’s election chief on Monday.
Ahmet Yener, head of Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council, said the presidential race would go to a second round on May 28, as Erdogan failed to secure an outright victory.
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As the unofficial count drew to a close, support for Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey for 20 years with an increasingly authoritarian grip, has dipped below the majority required for him to win re-election outright. Erdoğan won 49.5% of the vote, while Kilicdaroglu received 44.8%, according to the The state-run Anadolu News Agency.
A candidate needs to get 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff.
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Voters in Turkey were largely concerned about domestic issues such as the economy, civil rights and the February earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people. But Western countries and Investors are also waiting for the result. Turkey’s main benchmark stock index fell more than 6% In early trading on Monday as investors digested the uncertain election results, before recovering to trade down about 2.5%.
The election could determine whether a NATO ally that straddles Europe and Asia but borders Syria and Iran remains under Erdogan’s control. He raised the country’s international standing, but also eroded its democratic institutions and implemented unorthodox economic policies that rocked the country’s economy. Türkiye is one of the world’s largest jailers of journalists. Kilicdaroglu promised to restore stability to the Turkish economy, promote better relations with the United States and other Western allies, and return the country to a more democratic path. It is also likely to put the Muslim-majority country on a more secular path compared to Erdogan.
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Erdogan vs. Kilicdaroglu: Who has the advantage?
Both sides expressed confidence in their ability to win the run-off.
“If our nation opts for a second round, that is also welcome,” Erdogan, 69, said early Monday, noting that the votes of Turkish citizens living abroad still needed to be counted. He received 60% of the overseas vote in 2018.
“We will definitely win the second round … and achieve democracy,” said Kilicdaroglu, 74, a candidate of a six-party alliance, arguing that Erdogan has lost the trust of a nation now calling for change.
However, Howard Eisenstadt, an associate professor of Middle East history and politics at St. Lawrence University in New York, said Erdogan may have an advantage in the runoff because the president’s party is likely to do better in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. He said voters did not want a “divided government”.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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