Turkey is likely to go to polls again after none of the candidates secured 50 per cent of votes cast in the 14 May presidential elections. The runoff election between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main Opposition rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu is expected to take place on 28 May.
Turkish currency lira, stocks and its dollar bonds fell as the presidential elections appeared to be heading for a second-round runoff, as per a Reuters report on Monday afternoon.
Why is there no new President in Turkey yet and what happens next? Let’s understand.
What is going on?
Before we answer that, here is what you should know.
A candidate running to become Turkey’s president requires more than 50 per cent of the polled votes. However, if any of the presidential nominees fail to meet this threshold, then the top two contenders who received the highest votes will face each other in a direct contest in a runoff election that will take place on a Sunday following the first election round.
As many as 64 million people, including overseas voters, were eligible to vote in the 14 May Turkey general elections.
Opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu has reportedly bagged 45 per cent votes. AP
Associated Press (AP) reported citing Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) chief Ahmet Yener as saying that 99.4 per cent of the domestic and 84 per cent of the overseas votes were counted. At the time of writing this report, Erdogan was in the lead with 49.4 per cent of the votes, while Kilicdaroglu bagged 45 per cent votes.
The third contender, Sinan Ogan, received 5.2 per cent of the votes.
In the 2018 Turkish presidential elections, Erdogan had registered an outright majority by garnering 53 per cent of the polled votes, while the second candidate got 31 per cent of the votes, noted Indian Express.
What are the candidates saying?
Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey for two decades – first as prime minister and then as president, expressed confidence in winning the first round early Monday. However, he said he would accept a runoff.
“We strongly believe that we will continue to serve our nation for the next five years,” the incumbent president told his supporters late Sunday night, as per CNBC.
Kilicdaroglu was hopeful of emerging victorious in the runoff. “If our nation says second round, we gladly accept it. We will absolutely win this election in the second round. Everyone will see that,” the 74-year-old dubbed ‘Gandhi Kemal’ for his physical resemblance to the Indian freedom leader was quoted as saying by CNN.
Earlier, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, who is the candidate of six Opposition parties, alleged Erdogan’s Justice and Development (AK) Party of demanding recounts in opposition bastions such as Ankara and Istanbul to delay results, reported CNN.
Right-wing Ancestral Alliance candidate Ogan alleged that he heard that overseas votes were being “manipulated”, without providing any proof.
“Vote counting is not done in a healthy environment. I warn the YSK [the Supreme Election Council]. Take the necessary measures immediately and ensure that the vote counting processes are carried out quickly. In addition, we will not allow a fait accompli with a manipulation of foreign votes,” he said, as per The Guardian.
Ogan said in a tweet that the second vote is “quite possible,” and that “Turkish nationalists and Ataturkists are in a key position for this election”, reported CNN.
The former academic who established the think tank TURKSAM could be a “kingmaker” in the potential runoff depending on which candidate he supports, analysts said, as per Reuters.
If a runoff election is held in two weeks on 28 May, Hakan Akbas, managing director of Strategic Advisory Services, a consultancy, told Reuters that Erdogan will have an edge.
“Erdogan will have an advantage in a second vote after his alliance did far better than the Opposition’s alliance”.
“The next two weeks will probably be the longest two weeks in Turkey’s history and a lot will happen. I would expect a significant crash in the Istanbul stock exchange and lots of fluctuations in the currency,” Akbas added.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has an edge over his main rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the first round of the Turkish presidential elections. Reuters
Opinion polls held before the Sunday elections had indicated a tight race, giving Kilicdaroglu a slight lead with two polls showing him crossing the 50 per cent threshold.
Critics worry that Erdogan will rule more “autocratically” if he retains power, noted Reuters.
In case he loses by a small margin in the second round, some analysts say Erdogan is expected to challenge the results.
In the parliamentary elections also held on Sunday, the People’s Alliance including Erdogan’s AKP was inching towards a majority in the 600-seat Parliament. As per Reuters, even if Kilicdaroglu, who has vowed to revive democracy in Turkey, manages to defeat Erdogan in the runoff, he would lead a split government.
With inputs from agencies