In the Turkish parliamentary elections held on May 14, the ruling People’s Alliance, led by the Justice and Development Party, retained its majority. However, there was no clear winner in the presidential elections and a run-off is likely to be held between incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
Erdoğan emerged as the front runner with more than 49 percent of the vote. His agenda is the continuation of his economic and foreign policies. Kılıçdaroğlu, the joint candidate of the Nation Alliance led by the Republican People’s Party, who was leading in the pre-election surveys, failed to win even 45 percent of the votes. He is campaigning on the promise of “change,” including a return to the parliamentary system and radical changes in foreign policy based on a pro-Western approach.
As per Turkey’s Supreme Election Council, 87 percent of the electorate, 56 million citizens, voted in the elections. The results have defied public opinion surveys published prior to the vote, which stated that Kılıçdaroğlu was ahead of Erdoğan.
The results have also dashed the opposition’s hope of benefiting from popular grievances against Erdoğan’s government, which include prolonged high inflation deepening the cost of living crisis, backlash against Syrian refugees, and the mismanagement of the February earthquake relief.
A run-off will most likely be held two weeks from now for the presidential post, as neither of the lead candidates were able to secure over 50 percent of the vote.