Turkey election result: Erdogan in the lead, what are the polls for the 2nd round?


Turkey election result: Erdogan in the lead, what are the polls for the 2nd round?

Türkiye. Recep Tayyip Erdogan leads the first round of the presidential election in Turkey on May 15, but he will have to face his rival, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, in an unprecedented second round. Parliament remains committed to the alliance led by the outgoing president.

[Updated May 15, 2023 at 4:22 p.m.] A half-hearted victory for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On Sunday May 14, 2023, Turkey voted to elect its president and deputies. For the first time, Erdogan did not win the presidential election in the first round. The outgoing president did not obtain the necessary absolute majority. He will therefore have to face Kemal Kiliçdaroglu in a second round expected on May 28.

Erdogan can congratulate himself on retaining a majority in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey: he is at the head of the Alliance of the Republic, which now holds 321 seats out of 600. But the post of president remains much more important. The 2017 constitutional reform moved Turkey from a parliamentary regime to a presidential regime where the head of state rules by decree.

Many voters went to the polls: 87% of them voted. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, was delighted at a press conference to see such an influx into the polling stations: "The very high turnout in these elections is really good news. It is a clear sign that the Turkish people are committed to exercising their democratic rights." This was expected, but the pollsters got it wrong elsewhere: in their earnings predictions. Erdogan was a loser throughout the presidential campaign, but the polls seem to have underestimated the president's imprint on his country.

The religious factor may have tipped the scales in favor of Erdogan. According to Soner Cagaptay, a specialist in Turkish politics, affirms on Twitter that the pollsters have been trapped: for him, many Sunni voters will not vote for an Alevi candidate (Kiliçdaroglu) but do not assume it publicly.

The unsuccessful candidate Sinan Ogan could have a decisive role in the second round. This far-right nationalist garnered almost 3 million votes. He has not communicated any voting instructions for the moment, but his vote could be decisive despite his score of 5.2% in the first round. Kemal Kiliçdaroglu will have to overcome a gap of more than 2.5 million votes between him and Erdogan in the first round.

Faced with the electoral result favorable to Erdogan for the moment, the Turkish lira has approached its historic low: it takes 19.66 pounds for a dollar now. A further drop could play a role in the second round.

64 million Turkish voters were called to cast their ballots in the general elections on Sunday May 14, which combine presidential and legislative elections. The two main candidates, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his rival Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, voted in the morning. Recep Tayyip Erdogan won 49.5% of the vote while his rival Kemal Kiliçdaroglu won 44.89% of the vote. The other two candidates are eliminated with 5.17% of the vote for Sinan Ogan and 0.44% for Muharrem Ince. Detailed results can be found here.

Turks are invited to vote twice on the same day. On Sunday, May 14, they were called upon to appoint their deputies and the president for the first round. The presidential ballot is the same as in France: first past the post in two rounds and the president is elected for a five-year term. Legislative elections use proportional voting. The deputies are 600 to be elected for six years. A party must obtain 7% of the vote to obtain a seat.

As no candidate obtained an absolute majority in the first round, a second ballot between the first two candidates will be held on May 28 to elect the president.

The scores of the polling institutes are very tight. But according to Politico, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu is announced as the winner of the second round with 51% of the vote against 46% for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Given the small spreads, it is therefore very difficult to successfully predict the winner of the presidential election. Trends could also move between the two rounds which are 14 days apart.

Erdogan wants to keep his current economic line. He is firmly opposed to the economic theories of classical orthodoxy: he has continued to lower interest rates despite rampant inflation for more than two years. The Turkish lira has also lost nearly 80% of its value in five years against the dollar. Internationally, Edrogan wants Ankara to maintain a strong bond with Russia as the opposition wants to move closer to the European Union.

The National Alliance, the six parties led by Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, wishes to abandon the presidential regime established in 2018. This results in the return of a parliamentary system headed by a Prime Minister elected by Parliament. But for that, it is necessary to gather 3/5th of the votes of the deputies to start a constitutional revision. The coalition wants it to return to a strict separation of powers in the country.

Kiliçdaroglu has promised to release many political prisoners if he comes to power. He also wants to improve freedom of expression and that of the press while Turkey is classified as a "very serious situation" according to Reporters Without Borders. On the other hand, his alliance has not positioned itself on the Kurds, a very critical subject in Turkey. It intends to be able to return to Syria the more than three million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey.

According to Le Monde, the Turkish lira is in free fall: -28% against the dollar in 2022 and -44% in 2021. year in a country where more than half of employees earn less than 300 euros per month.

But Turkey is a paradox: it is one of the few countries to maintain positive growth in 2020. The growth rate in 2022 is 7.6% against 0.5% in France. At the same time, unemployment has been falling for two years. The economic context is therefore a real headache to decipher.

Haluk Levent, professor of economics at Istanbul University, deciphers the situation: "The government has chosen a populist and ultra-liberal economic policy, solely focused on production and construction. It is very beneficial to small traders and entrepreneurs, its electoral pool and to the banks." He is very pessimistic about the future of his country: "the system put in place ends up inflating an extremely dangerous bubble, built on private debt, which it is hard to imagine not seeing the implosion one day".

The two candidates have very different visions for their country. Thus, the outgoing president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan wishes to build a "Second Republic", marked more religiously. Since Turkey's entry into the European Union was denied, relations between Erdogan's Turkey and the EU have been strained. The outgoing president turns more easily to other leaders. His candidacy is supported by Russia, China and Iran, reports Franceinfo.

For his part, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu promises the end of a hyper-presidential regime and more democracy. The coalition of opposition parties wants to turn towards Europe. Several prisoners and exiles hope for an amnesty, while the main opponent has already promised to release the Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas and the patron Osman Kavala, underlines Le Monde.