Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and country’s main opposition party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu will square off in the second round of voting against each other on May 28 as none of the candidates could cross the 50% vote share in the first round of polling.
The first round of elections took place on Sunday (May 14), in which Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu were in the fray to become the next President of Turkey.
According to state-run news agency Anadolu news, Erdogan secured 49.34% of votes against Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who got 44.99% of votes. Since none of them could cross the 50% votes percentage required to become Turkey’s President, the second round of voting through the postal ballot process will take place on May 28.
The third candidate, Sinan Ogan, received 5.28% votes becoming a strong contender to play a kingmaker’s role.
The election in Turkey is also being watched closely by Europe, Middle East and the West because of Erdogan’s staunch support for Islamist ideology and his support for Russia amid its war with Ukraine.
A win for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) party means extension of the 20 year rule of the leader who has been criticized by the West in the recent past for his authoritarian-type of government rule and his staunch support for anti-West governments.
Erdogan had raised eyebrows in the recent past by continuing to maintain close ties with Russia as Moscow went on with its onslaught against Ukraine. Also, Erdogan has also been stalling NATO’s plans of expansion by stalling the membership of Finland and Sweden.
Though this election is being viewed as a tectonic shift in the power share in Turkey with many expecting a change of government, Erdogan is confident of winning it this time also. He addressed his supporters at the party headquarters saying that his party will cross the 50% votes easily, CNN reported.
On the other hand, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of the six-party coalition, is also confident of his victory. The 74-year-old former bureaucrat has promised the people of fixing Turkey’s faltering economy and restore democracy in the country ending Erdogan’s authoritarian regime.
Kilicdaroglu has lost many elections in the past as the leader of Republican Peoples Party. However, this time his message to the people of cutting the excessive powers of President Erdogan seems to have given him a momentum.
The second round of voting will take place on May 28, and the counting may continue for a few days before the next President of Turkey is announced.
Turkey holds elections every five years. More than 1.8 million voters living abroad had already cast their votes on April 17, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported . Over 65 million Turks are eligible to vote.