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Elections in Turkey: polling stations close and expectations grow for Erdogan’s future

Elections in Turkey: polling stations close and expectations grow for Erdogan’s future

Elections in Turkey: polling stations close and expectations grow for Erdogan’s future

polling stations Turks closed on Sunday in an election that could end two decades in power for the outgoing president Recep Tayyip Erdoganand steer this nation -majority Muslim- towards a more secular course.

A large turnout was expected in what became a referendum on the longest-serving leader of Türkiye and his Islamic-rooted party.

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It is the closest election Erdogan has faced and polls suggest he could lose his job.

Wearing a blue shirt and a tired expression, the outgoing president voted in Üsküdara conservative neighborhood of istanbulwhere you wanteda prosperous future for the country and for Turkish democracy”.

Erdogan, who did not want to give any prognosis, pointed out the “voter enthusiasm” particularly in the areas most affected by the earthquake on February 6, which left at least 50,000 dead.

The opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdarogluvoted shortly before in Ankara. “We have missed democracy”, he declared with a smile.

You’ll see, spring will return to this country God willing and it will last forever”, he added, referring to one of his slogans.

In a deeply divided Turkey, the contest to elect the country’s 13th president, a century after the founding of its republic, is a close one.

polarized

The country is polarized between the two main candidates, the Islamo-conservative President Erdogan, 69, who has been in power for twenty years, and his opponent Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, 74, head of a secular Social Democratic party, the CHP.

To ensure victory in the first round, they need at least 50% of the votes plus one.

MORE INFORMATION: Erdogan accuses Israel of applying a “politics of blood” to the Palestinians after clashes in Al Aqsa

The third candidate in contention is sinan oganto whom the polls attribute only a few points.

64 million voters, who will also elect their parliament, were on the census in this country of 85 million inhabitants, which has a tradition of voting with participation rates of over 80%.

Good humor and a festive atmosphere abounded among the voters on this day, which coincided with the Mother’s Day in Türkiye.

Economic crisis

Kiliçdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) of Mustafa Kemal Ataturkthe founder of modern Turkey, leads a six-party coalition that ranges from the nationalist right to the liberal center-left.

He also received the support of the pro-Kurdish party HDPthe third political force in the country.

In 2018, in the last presidential elections, the head of state won in the first round with more than 52.5% of the votes. If this time he had to play a second round, on May 28, it would already be a setback for him.

Erdogan promised to respect the result at the polls, which will be monitored by hundreds of thousands of election observers from both sides, on whom he has always based his legitimacy.

On this occasion, the president came to the vote in a country hit by a economic crisiswith a currency devalued by half in two years and inflation that exceeded 85% in autumn, in addition to the dramatic earthquake in February, which called into question its omnipotence.

His rival, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, is committed to appeasement and promises to restore the rule of law and respect the institutions, affected in the last ten years by Erdogan’s autocratic drift.

ALSO SEE: “It’s like it was yesterday,” say survivors a month after the earthquake in Turkey

According to polls, his short, calm speeches, in contrast to Erdogan’s, won over the majority of the 5.2 million young Turks voting for the first time.

For the political scientist ahmet inselexiled in ParisErdogan’s defeat would show that we can get out of a consolidated autocracy through the ballot box”.

Türkiye, a member country of the NATOenjoys a privileged position among Europe and middle East and is an important diplomatic actor.

Source: Elcomercio

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