Turkey heads for tense election runoff as Erdoğan battles to keep power

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

ANKARA : Turkey’s battle for the presidency looks almost certain to go to a run-off, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set for a four-point lead in the first round.

Erdogan after 20 years in power said, standing at the balcony of his party headquarters, that he was convinced he would win five more years.

Early results of Anadolu news agency showed incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a comfortable ahead compared to the Opposition rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Though Opposition challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu also claimed to have victory in his grasp but incomplete results give him around 45%, with Mr Erdogan on more than 49% of the vote. Candidates need more than 50% to win in the first round.

According to Anadolu, Erdogan received 49.67 per cent of the vote when 93 per cent of the ballots were counted, against 44.59 per cent of the vote for Kemal Kilicdaroglu. The third candidate Sinan Ogan garnered 5.3 per cent of support.

If no presidential candidate secured a simple majority, or 50 per cent, of the votes in the first round, a second ballot would be scheduled between the top two frontrunners on May 28.

As the ballot boxes for the parliamentary election were also finishing counting, unofficial results showed that the People’s Alliance, formed by Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the New Welfare Party and the Great Union Party, had 323 lawmakers, highest among three alliances that run for the 600-seat parliament.

The six-party opposition block Nation Alliance gained a total of 214 lawmakers and could not secure 360 seats required to hold a referendum for ending the current executive presidency that they pledged in their election campaign.

The Labor and Freedom Alliance, a coalition of left-wing political parties, had 63 lawmakers, with the Green Left Party gaining 60 seats and the Workers’ Party of Turkey three lawmakers.

Nearly 61 million voters are registered to cast their ballots. Around 3.5 million voters living abroad have been called to cast their votes in advance. The voter turnout was high at nearly 80 per cent. ( With AA inputs )


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