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Turkiye set for presidential runoff, as neither Erdogan nor Kilicdaroglu secure 50% of the vote

May 15, 2023 at 8:00 pm

Ballot papers are seen as voters continue to arrive for casting their votes for presidential and parliamentary elections at the Kocatepe Mimar Kemal Anatolian High School in Ankara, Turkiye on May 14, 2023 [Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye is set to have a runoff between current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and main opposition rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, later this month, as both candidates failed to secure the necessary 50 per cent of total votes in yesterday’s presidential election.

According to a statement today by Ahmet Yener, the head of the High Election Board, Erdogan won 49.51 per cent of the votes in the landmark election while Kilicdaroglu received 44.88 per cent of the vote. As both candidates fell short of the 50 per cent needed to secure a victory in the country’s electoral system, they are consequently set to head to a second-round runoff on 28 May.

Upon the emergence of the current results, the 69-year-old Erdogan praised what he called a record turnout which, according to the election board, consisted of around 89 per cent of the more than 64 million eligible voters in Turkiye, including the 3.4 million overseas voters. “Turkiye has once again proven that it’s one of the leading democracies in the world,” the President stated at the headquarters of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) last night.

An infographic titled "Türkiye Parliamentary Elections" created in Ankara, Turkiye on May 15, 2023. Türkiye Parliamentary Elections [Elmurod Usubaliev - Anadolu Agency]

Results of Turkiye’s Parliamentary Elections on 15 May 2023 [Elmurod Usubaliev – Anadolu Agency]

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He also welcomed a second vote if it is the wish of the Turkish electorate, expressing confidence that he will win even in the upcoming runoff. That view is seemingly a reliable one, as Erdogan is currently well-placed in that runoff, backed by the fact that preliminary results have shown that the AKP also won just short of 50 per cent of the simultaneous parliamentary elections’ votes.

There is talk of the odds potentially being in the favour of 74-year-old Kilicdaroglu and his Republican People’s Party (CHP), as a third presidential candidate – Sinan Ogan – may join with the main opposition figure following his elimination after gaining just over 5 per cent of the votes.

Despite Ogan stating that he would support Kilicdaroglu if the latter does not make any concessions to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), it is currently uncertain if that will even swing the vote in the opposition rival’s favour, as some analysts predict that many of Ogan’s voters may, instead, either prefer Erdogan or refrain from voting in the runoff at all.