Polls close in presidential runoff in Turkey with Erdogan fighting for third term

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ANKARA (Turkey):  Voting closed in Turkey’s presidential runoff election with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fighting for a third term, CNN reported.

Erdogan is going head-to-head with opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. In the first round of voting on May 14, Turkish President Erdogan secured a nearly five-point lead over Kilicdaroglu. However, he fell short of the 50 per cent threshold required to win, as per the CNN report.

Erdogan’s parliamentary bloc secured a win in the majority of seats in the parliamentary race on May 14. Erdogan cast his vote at a voting centre in Istanbul on Sunday.

Erdogan said, “This is a first in Turkish democratic history.” He further said, “Turkey, with nearly 90 per cent participation in the last round, showed its democratic struggle beautifully and I believe it will do the same again today,” CNN reported.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu cast his vote in Ankara. Speaking to reporters, he said, “In order to get rid of the oppression and to get rid of this authoritarian leadership, to bring real democracy and freedom, I call on all citizens to go vote and to stand by the ballot boxes after,” according to CNN.

Kilicdaroglu said that the election was conducted under “hardships” and added that “all sorts of black propaganda and slander was used.” The electoral authorities said voting was passing “without any issues.” They further said that the results of the polls should come sooner than in the first round.

Last week, third-place candidate Sinan Ogan, who secured victory in 5 per cent of the first-round vote, publicly endorsed Erdogan, as per the CNN report.

Six opposition groups have set up a unified bloc behind Kilicdaroglu in an attempt to stop Erdogan from taking over as Turkey’s President. The opposition has called the election as a last stand for Turkey’s democracy.

They have accused Erdogan of hollowing out Turkey’s democratic institutions during his 20-year rule. Erdogan faces headwinds from a floundering economy and an initial response to the earthquake on February 6, as per the CNN report. Turkish government accepted its “mistakes” in its rescue operation and apologized to the public.

According to critics, Turkish President Erdogan suppressed interest rates leaving inflation unfettered, as per the news report. However, the electoral results on May 14 showed continued support for Erdogan in his conservative strongholds, including in the devastated earthquake zone. (ANI)

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