/ Go to the mediabankBallots are seen during the early voting at the second round of presidential elections at the polling station in the Turkish embassy in Moscow, Russia. / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaOleg BurunovTurks cast ballots in their country’s first-ever presidential election runoff on Sunday which will define who will be at the helm of the country over the next five years. Who are the candidates and how should they perform to secure victory? Sputnik has answers to these and other questions.More than 64 million Turks will be eligible to vote in the May 28 election runoff at nearly 192,000 polling stations, including over six million who were first-time voters on May 14, when the first round took place.
Polls across Turkiye are due to open at 8 am local time (0500 GMT) and close at 5 pm local (1400 GMT). Turnout is expected to be high given that the first round saw 87.04% of eligible voters cast their ballots. A future winner is obliged to obtain a simple majority of votes to secure victory.
Election rules stipulate that forecasts and commentaries about the vote are banned until 6 pm (1300 GMT) and media is only free to report on election results as of 9 pm (1800 GMT). The High Election Board, however, may allow media to report on the results earlier than scheduled. The final results from Sunday’s vote are expected to be announced by 3pm (1200 GMT) on Monday.WorldWhat is Turkish Presidential System and How Does It Work?25 May, 19:57 GMTMeanwhile, polls for the presidential runoff election opened for at least 3.4 millions of Turks living outside the country last Saturday.
Why Does Turkiye Face a Second Round?
The May 14 presidential election in Turkiye headed into a runoff after none of the contenders were able to secure 50% of votes, something that was officially announced by the country’s Supreme Election Council on May 15.WorldTurkiye Presidential Election: What is Known So Far15 May, 11:30 GMT
"Our organization decided on the basis of the current situation, when no candidate is gaining 50% of the votes, to hold the second round of the presidential election on Sunday, May 28. This will be for the first time in the history of Turkiye," Ahmet Yener, the head of the election commission, told reporters.
During the first round, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) obtained 49,52% of votes, while his main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), received 44.88%. Lagging behind were ATA Alliance candidate Sinan Ogan and Homeland Party leader Muharrem Ince, who gained 5.17% and 0.43%, respectively, despite Ince having withdrawn from the race previously.
Who are the Candidates?
The two men fighting it out are incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.Recep Tayyip Erdogan:69-year-old Erdogan, who was Turkiye’s prime minister from 2003 to 2014 and mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998, seeks a third consecutive presidential term in the May 14 election. Earlier this week, he was endorsed by Ogan in the runoff.The Turkish president previously pledged that if he prevails in the second round, “each of the 85 million people of Turkiye [the country’s current population] will win.” Addressing voters, Erdogan pointed out that citizens “should not give a сhance to those who target the country’s unity and solidarity.”He vowed that Ankara will “fight against all evil networks, including the separatist terrorist organization PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and its extensions will continue with determination,” adding the PKK “could not move” in Turkiye any longer because of his efforts.Erdogan promised to return about one million Syrian refugees to their homeland after implementing housing projects in Turkiye-controlled northern Syria. He also stressed that improving dialogue between Syria and Turkiye through Russian mediation efforts will help increase the “voluntary” return of refugees.On the economy, the Turkish president said that he wants to pull the inflation level down to 20% in 2023 and below 10% in 2024, but made it clear that the government would keep decreasing interest rates.On the deadly February 2023 Turkiye-Syria earthquake, he pledged to provide quake survivors in southeastern Turkiye with home loans within a 20-year maturity and a two-year grace period.Kemal Kilicdaroglu:Kilicdaroglu, 74, made the “fight against terrorism” one of his key topics during the two-week pause ahead of the May 28 runoff.“Terrorism will be fought, not negotiated. No political and legal arrangement targeting Turkiye’s national and unitary state structure will be allowed,” the presidential contender said.Other topics that he outlined ahead the first round included the issue of illegal migrants, with Kilicdaroglu vowing “to create the infrastructure for the process” of sending them back to their homeland in two years.The 74-year-old also pledged to develop conventional economic policies so as to stabilize interest rates and fight crippling hyperinflation in the country.He claimed that he could attract as much as $300 billion in investment from abroad, arguing that investors only want democracy and confidence in Turkiye to inject money.Additionally, Kilicdaroglu promised to provide free housing for earthquake survivors who lost their property in the disaster.
What About Forecasts?
One of the latest polls conducted by Center Arastirma revealed that Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu have approximately equal chances to trumpet the runoff victory.WorldErdogan Vows to Form Cabinet Quickly if Given Election VictoryYesterday, 03:32 GMTAccording to the survey, 44.7% of respondents are ready to vote for the CHP leader, while 43.7% are ready to support the Turkish president. The remaining 11.6% either have not made their choice yet or they will not go to the polls at all, the poll indicated.
The influential Turkish pollster KONDA has, meanwhile, revealed that its latest surveys show that at least 47% of respondents will say “yes” to Erdogan in the runoff, while Kilicdaroglu will be backed by 42.2%.
About 8.2% have not yet decided how to vote, and 2.6% do not plan to cast ballots, as per the polls.