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Türkiye. Parliamentary and presidential elections. Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Kemal Kilicdaroglu?

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Parliamentary and presidential elections have started in Turkey. Three electoral coalitions are competing for 600 seats in the Grand National Assembly. In the race for the highest office in the country, the current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party, supported by the majority of the Turkish opposition, will compete.

Polling stations in Turkey opened at 8 am local time (7 in Poland). The first preliminary election results are expected around 9 p.m.

The current conservative leader of the state competes in the race for the presidency Recep Tayyip Erdoganthe leader of the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is supported by the majority of the opposition, and Sinan Ognan, whose support has recently been polls is around five percent. The results of the Konda poll published on Thursday gave Kilicdaroglu a five percentage point lead over Erdogan.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan campaigning in IstanbulEPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

Presidential elections in Turkey – rules

In July 2018, Türkiye switched from a parliamentary system to a presidential one. Currently, the president is directly elected, and the function of prime minister has been abolished. A candidate needs more than half the votes to win in the first round. The second round is scheduled for May 28.

In Turkey, presidential and parliamentary elections are held every five years. Candidates for the presidency can be put forward by parties that in the last parliamentary elections exceeded the threshold of five percent of votes or collected at least 100,000 signatures supporting their candidacy.

If no candidate gets at least 50 percent plus one vote in the first round, the presidential election will continue. On May 28, the two candidates who received the most votes in the first round will compete in the second round.

The head of the Republican People’s Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu during the campaign in IstanbulPAP/EPA/SEDAT SUNA

Parliamentary elections – rules, participants

Voters are also electing 600 members of Turkey’s unicameral parliament today. About 64 million people in Turkey have the right to vote, including almost 5 million first-time voters. Parliamentary elections are proportional. In order to participate in the distribution of seats, parties must obtain at least 7 percent of the vote, either alone or in alliance with other parties.

Three coalitions gain the greatest support in the polls – the People’s Alliance centered around the Justice and Development Party, the National Alliance supporting Kilicdaroglu and the Labor and Freedom Alliance, whose core is the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) – also supporting the leader of the CHP.

The Konda Center, based on the results of its surveys, placed the People’s Alliance at the top of voters’ preferences, of whom 44 percent expressed a willingness to vote for this coalition. The National Alliance received 40 percent of the votes polled, the parties centered around the HDP – over 12 percent.

The campaign was dominated by the economy, the state system, the effects of the earthquake

The election campaign in Turkey was dominated by the theme of the country’s declining economy and the rising cost of living due to high inflation. Other points are the vision of the state’s system – a presidential system introduced by Erdogan or a parliamentary system favored by the opposition, and the fate of millions of refugees living in Turkey from Syria and ways to rebuild the country after a catastrophic one earthquake from February this year.

Among the topics of the presidential campaign in Turkey, there was the issue of sending Syrians back to their countryPAP/EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

In recent months, the Erdogan-led government has been involved as an intermediary in war in Ukrainemade an attempt to normalize relations with, among others, Egypt and Syria, and blocked the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, although the latter’s accession to the alliance was eventually ratified.

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The opposition has declared its willingness to move closer to the West, to take a clear stand on NATO’s side and to reduce its involvement in regional conflicts.

Main photo source: EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

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