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Turkish Elections Head to Runoff as No Candidate Secures Majority

In a historic display of democratic participation, Turkish citizens came out in large numbers on Sunday to cast their votes in the highly anticipated national elections. The election marked a significant milestone in Turkey’s political landscape, with a diverse array of candidates competing for various offices. As the final ballots have been counted, the results revealed the future direction of Turkey’s governance.

The level of enthusiasm among voters was unprecedented, leading to an extraordinary surge in voter turnout. Nearly 90% of eligible voters exercised their democratic right, showcasing the strong commitment of the Turkish people to participate in shaping the nation’s future. Ahmet Yener, the President of the Supreme Election Council, provided insightful information about the number of voters, including a significant number of first-time voters.

According to Yener, the total number of voters in the country was 60,697,843. Out of these, 30,710,790 (50.60%) were female voters, and 29,987,053 (49.40%) were male voters. Notably, 4,904,672 voters participated for the first time in these elections, reflecting the engagement of young and new voters in the democratic process. Moreover, if the presidential elections proceed to the second round, an additional 47,523 first-time voters are expected to cast their ballots on May 28, 2023.


None of the candidates secured 50% of the votes

As of 09:45, the preliminary results indicated that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had received 49.40% of the vote, followed by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu with 44.90%, Sinan Ogan with 5.2%, and Muharrem İnce with 0.44%.

The electoral race showcased a diverse range of candidates representing various political parties. The primary contest revolved around the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Additionally, smaller parties like the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Good Party (IYI) fielded candidates, enriching the electoral landscape and offering voters a wide range of choices. Two notable electoral alliances, the People’s Alliance and the Nation Alliance, also participated, bringing together multiple parties under a common platform to strengthen their collective electoral prospects.

Although none of the presidential candidates secured more than 50% of the votes, a runoff election between the two leading candidates, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, is scheduled for May 28, 2023, to determine Turkey’s next president.

In parallel with the presidential elections, parliamentary elections were also held to determine the composition of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. While the official breakdown of the parliamentary seats and the exact number of votes garnered by each party is yet to be released, preliminary reports suggest a more fragmented parliament. The AKP remained the largest party but experienced a decline in its majority, while the CHP maintained its position as the main opposition party. The MHP, as part of the People’s Alliance, made significant gains, capturing 10% of the votes in the parliament.


People Showed Resilience in Elections Amidst Earthquake Tragedy

Despite the unfortunate occurrence of a devastating earthquake in the Kahramanmaraş region, the Turkish people demonstrated their resilience and determination by actively participating in the elections, exercising their democratic rights even in the face of challenging circumstances.

The elections also witnessed the participation of elderly citizens, with notable examples such as Hacer Babal, born in 1909, who was brought to the polling station in a wheelchair to exercise her democratic rights.

Looking ahead, the focus now shifts to the runoff election between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Both candidates will intensify their campaigns to secure the support of undecided voters and consolidate their bases. The runoff election presents Turkish citizens with an opportunity to carefully evaluate the competing visions and policies put forth by the candidates, ultimately determining the next president of Turkey.

Simultaneously, the newly composed parliament, with its diversified representation, holds the promise of robust debates, greater checks and balances, and a more inclusive decision-making process. The political parties will navigate this evolving landscape, working towards consensus and collaboration to address the pressing challenges facing the nation.

Turkish journalist Kenan Kayrak emphasized the significance of the elections entering the second round, stating that it gives the people an opportunity to defend democracy and exercise their right to vote once again. Kayrak noted that the voter turnout in these elections was particularly remarkable, marking the highest participation in recent years, with approximately 89% of eligible voters casting their ballots. He expressed confidence that all candidates would prioritize the further development of Turkey and put aside personal interests in the second round, emphasizing that the citizens’ votes would continue to play a decisive role in shaping the country’s future.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech from the AK Party Headquarters, acknowledging the completion of another successful democratic process with the May 14 elections. He mentioned that the People’s Alliance, comprising various parties, now holds the majority in parliament and expressed confidence that the preferences of the nation, which granted the alliance the parliamentary majority, would also support trust and stability in the Presidential Election. President Erdoğan expressed his hopes that the election results would bring prosperity to the country and its people.

As the runoff election approaches, the Turkish people are eagerly engaged in the democratic process, eagerly awaiting the future of their nation. It is a time of anticipation, as Turkey prepares to embark on a new chapter under the leadership chosen by its citizens.

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