Supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hold a banner with his picture at his party’s headquarters after polls close in the early hours of May 15, 2023 in Ankara.
Turkey this Monday, for the first time in its history, heads to a second election round on May 28 between the outgoing president, Islamoconservative Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his main rival, Kemal Kilikdaroglu, a social democrat.
The final results of Sunday’s presidential and legislative votes are not yet known. On that day, 64 million Turkish voters turned out to vote, bringing the provisional participation rate to nearly 90%.
After scrutinizing over 99% of the votes, Erdogan collected 49.4%, and his main rival 44.95%; A better-than-expected result for the head of state, who has suffered losses in the latest polls.
On the other hand, the opposition, which claimed to be “in the lead” on Sunday, felt these figures like a shower of cold water.
Kilicdaroglu, who leads a broad coalition of six opposition parties, said early Monday: “If our country talks about a second round, we will definitely win the second round.” ,
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was re-elected in 2018 in the first round of the presidential election, also appeared in front of a crowd of supporters on Sunday night.
“I am confident that we will continue to serve our people in the next five years,” launched Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003. In recent weeks, he has made several election promises aimed at curbing the high inflation plaguing the country.
Furthermore, his formation, the Justice and Development Party (AKP, Islamoconservative), appears to be in a position to retain its majority in parliament.
Amid this uncertainty, the Istanbul Stock Exchange index was down 4% on Monday morning.
– ‘Erdogan will win’ –
The outcome of the second round will partly depend on a third person, nationalist Sinan Ogan, who collected about 5% of the vote on Sunday. As of now, he has not yet called his supporters to vote for either of the two candidates.
In the Sishan neighborhood, in Istanbul, residents expressed conflicting opinions this Monday regarding the decision of the vote to be held on May 28.
For 26-year-old Betul Yilmaz, “Kilkidaroglu can win if he forms an alliance with Sinan Ogan.” “But it will be close,” predicted the woman covered in the black veil.
Hamdi Kurumhammut, 40, a tourism sector worker, instead said, “Tayyip Erdogan will win. He is a true leader, Turks trust him and he has a vision for Turkey.”
“Of course, there are things that need to be improved, whether in the economy, education or refugee reception policies.
Late into the night, both sides waged a battle of numbers, urging their respective observers to stay at the counting stations “till the end”.
Kiliçdaroglu’s side did not take long to refute the earlier data, which gave a comfortable advantage to Erdogan, saying that the results of polling stations most favorable to the opposition candidate had not yet been counted, because of several appeals. , which slowed down the counting of votes …
But for the Erdogan-friendly daily Sabah, the outgoing president’s first place on Sunday already represents “a tremendous success”.