Turkish presidential election heads to runoff as Erdoğan falls short of majority

AKP supporters wait for the election results in Istanbul on May 14, 2023.
AKP supporters wait for the election results in Istanbul on May 14, 2023.   -  Copyright  AFP
By Euronews  with AP, AFP

The second round of voting will be held on 28 May after neither candidate reached a 50% threshold for victory.

Turkey's presidential election is going to a runoff after none of the candidates managed to secure an outright win, despite incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan leading main competitor Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

The President of the Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey, Ahmet Yener, confirmed the second round with 35,000 votes left to be counted – not enough to suffice Erdoğan's tally of 49.5% votes over the threshold. 

Despite narrowly trailing in the opinion polls, Erdoğan persisted in the first round and is expected to be the front-runner in the May 28 poll. 

Opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, meanwhile accepted the runoff, predicting he will prevail against Erdoğan in an address overnight. 

Read our live blog from Sunday and Monday to see how the voting and counting unfolded over the past two days:  


That's the end of our live blog for the first round of the Turkish presidential elections. Thank you for joining us today. 

With no candidate managing to secure 50% of the total votes needed to secure an outright win, Turkey will get its new President following a second round of elections on May 28. 

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan secured 49.5% of votes, defying opinion polls, over opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who managed 44.9% of the total votes. The third candidate, Sinan Oğan, securing 5%, will be the kingmaker in the runoff. 

Both Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu have accepted the second round and have expressed confidence in getting the result in their favour. 

We'll be back with the live blog for the second round of elections!


Turkish electoral chief confirms election runoff 

The President of the Supreme Electoral Board (YSK) has confirmed that the Turkish presidential election will be decided by a runoff between incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. 

The writing was on the wall as both candidates failed to secure an outright win in the preliminary count. With just 35,000 votes left to be counted, the May 28 poll will be the ultimate decider. 

Earlier, both the candidates had accepted the prospect of a second round with Erdoğan particularly confident about a win following a win in the parliamentary votes. 


Kılıçdaroğlu will 'definitely' win the second round

Republican People's Party Deputy Chairman and Party Spokesperson Faik Öztrak maintained Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu "definitely" will win the second round. 

"Yesterday's elections have shown that Erdogan did not get the vote of confidence from our nation," he said in a statement.

With only a few ballot boxes left to be counted, said the election results will not be impacted and the second round will generate greater support for the opposition leader. 

"For the next 15 days, we will do our best to bring right, law and justice to this country. The will of our nation is above all else. The National Alliance will take the lead. The winner will be democracy, the winner will be Turkey," he added. 



Moscow-Ankara ties will deepen regardless of election results: Kremlin

The Kremlin said Monday that relations between Moscow and Ankara would continue to "deepen" regardless of who wins the Turkish presidential election.

"We are following the information coming from Turkey with great attention and interest. We will respect the choice of the Turkish people. But in any case, we expect our cooperation to continue, deepen and develop," said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The relationship between Turkey and Russia has strengthened in recent years under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu recently accused Russia of interfering in the election campaign. 

Russia has denied any interference in Turkey.



EU congratulates Turkish voters for democratic 'victory'

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel on Monday hailed Turkish voters for their "very high turnout" in Sunday's first round of elections, calling it a "victory" for democracy.

"The very high turnout in these elections is really good news (...) It is a clear sign that the Turkish population is committed to exercising its democratic rights," von der Leyen said at a press conference alongside Michel, who also congratulated the Turkish citizens.



Turkish lira and stocks fall after elections

The Turkish currency, Lira, fell to a two-month low on early Monday as the country's sovereign dollar bonds tumbled.

The Borsa Istanbul 100 index was also down 4.2% after dropping as much as 6% early Monday.

(Euronews and AP) 

Election representative prepares the ballots at a polling station at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, May 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Turkey's ties with the EU and the West are at a historic low over the country's "backsliding on the rule of law and on fundamental rights" under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has promised to restore the damage, and align with the West instead of Russia. 

Here's what the election, now headed to the second runoff means to the EU, Russia and the eastern Mediterranean: 


Iran congratulates Turkey on the elections

Iran has congratulated Turkey on high participation rates in both presidential and parliamentary votes. 

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani called it a "victory for democracy in the neighbouring and Muslim country" on Twitter. 


As things stand, Turkey's presidential elections will be heading towards a second-round runoff. 

With 99.4% of the domestic votes and 84% of the overseas votes counted, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had 49.4% of the votes, with his main rival, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, garnering 45%, Ahmet Yener, the head of the Supreme Electoral Board, told reporters. A third candidate, nationalist politician Sinan Ogan received 5.2%.

The election results have also shown that Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party is set to 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%.



Kılıçdaroğlu confident about the runoff

Opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said he is confident about the second round of the election on May 28 as a runoff becomes increasingly likely with both candidates failing to clear the 50% threshold. 

"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 Erdogan garnered massive campaign support. 

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