Over 12 hours have passed since the polls closed in Turkey, yet the outcome of the presidential election remains deeply uncertain, with over 90% of the vote counted.
Preliminary results indicate that neither President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor his main rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu have secured the majority of votes required for a decisive victory. Although final results are yet to be released, it appears likely that a run-off vote will be necessary.
Erdogan, who has held power since 2002, is currently leading with 49.49% of the vote. Addressing his supporters from the AK Party, he expressed his belief that he can still achieve an outright win. Meanwhile, Kilicdaroglu, who has garnered 44.79% of the vote so far, has vowed to emerge victorious in the second round.
However, it is anticipated that Erdogan’s AK Party alliance will form a majority in parliament. This election is proving to be Turkey’s most tightly contested in recent years, taking place amidst the country’s struggles with high inflation and ongoing recovery efforts following devastating earthquakes earlier this year.
The Turkish election seems to be heading towards a run-off, as both main candidates are poised to fall short of the 50% threshold required to avoid a second round. With nearly 97% of ballot boxes counted, Recep Tayyip Erdogan leads with 49.39% of the votes, while Kemal Kilicdaroglu holds 44.92%, according to the state-owned news agency Anadolu.
Turkey’s High Election Board reported that Mr. Erdogan received 49.49% of the votes with 91.93% of ballot boxes counted.
Speaking to his supporters in Ankara, Erdogan expressed his confidence in winning but assured that he would respect the nation’s decision if the race necessitates a run-off on 28 May. He stated, “If our nation has chosen a second round for the election, then we welcome that decision. We believe that we will secure over 50% of the vote in this round. I would like to emphasize once again that the fact the election results are not yet finalized does not change the clear preference of our nation in our favor. We strongly believe that we will continue to serve our nation for the next five years.”
His rival, Kilicdaroglu, expressed gratitude to the voters, particularly highlighting the high turnout among young people and women. He stated, “Despite all his slander and insults, Erdogan did not achieve the result he anticipated. No one should consider it a done deal. Elections are not won from balconies. The data is still being compiled. If our nation says ‘a second round,’ we welcome that decision. Our people should be certain that we will absolutely, absolutely emerge victorious and bring democracy to this country.”
At 69 years old, Erdogan, who has been in power for 20 years, is seeking a third consecutive term as president. However, Kilicdaroglu has presented him with his toughest challenge to date.
Opinion polls conducted before the election had given Kilicdaroglu, who leads a six-party alliance, a slight advantage. Two surveys on Friday even placed him above the 50% threshold. However, most polls suggested a narrow margin.
In addition to the presidential race, Turkey’s voters have also been selecting representatives for the 600-seat parliamentary assembly.
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