Turkish presidential election goes to unprecedented runoff

Sami Hegazi
2 Min Read

The Turkish Election Commission announced on Monday that outgoing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received 49.4% of the vote, while his rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the Republican People’s Party, collected 44.96% in the 2023 presidential elections.

A candidate must get more than 50% of the vote to win the highly-charged race. If no one passes that threshold, the vote goes to a runoff election two weeks later.

Erdoğan, who has ruled the country since 2003 as a president and a prime minister, seeks to win his last presidential term.

Meanwhile, the results of the parliamentary elections showed that Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party will retain its majority in the 600-seat parliament, although the assembly has lost much of its legislative power after a referendum to change the country’s system of governance to an executive presidency narrowly passed in 2017.

Anadolu News Agency said Erdoğan’s ruling party alliance was hovering around 49.3%, while Kılıçdaroğlu’s Nation Alliance had around 35.2%, and support for a pro-Kurdish party stood above 10%. Opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said he is confident about the second round of the election on May 28.

“The need for a change in society exceeds 50%,” he said addressing his supporters overnight. “We will “definitely, definitely” win this election in the second round. Many believe the second round will be tough for Kılıçdaroğlu after failing to secure wins despite leading the opinion polls in the build-up. His calls to restore democracy and get Turkey out of the “authoritarianism” of Erdoğan garnered massive campaign support.

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