- Erdoğan is ahead in the partial count
- Erdogan eyes third decade of rule, critics fear ‘one-man rule’
ANKARA, May 28 (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan appeared headed for victory in Turkey’s runoff election on Sunday, with data from both the state-run Anadolu Agency and the opposition ANKA news agency giving him a lead with around 93% of the ballot boxes. counted.
The head of the High Election Board told a news conference that Erdogan was leading against Kemal Kilicdaroglu with 54.47% support and 54.6% of the ballot boxes registered.
Separately, Ömer Celik, a spokesman for Erdogan’s ruling AK Party, said he maintained strong support.
The victory would extend Erdogan’s two-decade rule, giving him a mandate to continue his increasingly authoritarian rule that has polarized Turkey and strengthened its position as a regional military power.
Erdogan’s supporters chanted Allahu Akbar, or God is great, at his Istanbul residence in anticipation of victory. “I expect everything to turn out better,” said Nisa, 28, wearing a headband with Erdogan’s name on it.
A victory would bolster Erdogan’s invincible image after he has already reshaped domestic, economic, defense and foreign policies in the NATO member state of 85 million people.
Erdoğan wooed voters with nationalist and conservative rhetoric during a divisive campaign that deflected attention from deeper economic problems, winning only after facing his tough political interventions.
The defeat of Klikdaroglu, who had promised to set the country on a more democratic and inclusive path, may have been rejoicing in Moscow, but was mourned in Western capitals and much of the Middle East after Turkey took a more confrontational and independent stance on foreign affairs.
Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey for two decades, appears set to win a new five-year mandate largely due to his unorthodox policies, which the opposition has vowed to reverse, despite a cost-of-living crisis and continued currency devaluations. .
Analysts predict economic and market volatility after the vote, which some have called a test of whether such an autocratic leader can be removed peacefully.
But ahead of the first round of presidential elections on May 14, Erdogan – the eldest of more than a dozen electoral victories – said he values democracy and denies being a dictator.
Kilicdaroglu, who ran a largely inclusive campaign in the face of Erdogan’s attacks, has promised to restore governance, restore human rights and return independence to the courts and central bank after being sidelined for the past decade.
After his ruling coalition won a comfortable majority in parliament in a May 14 vote, Erdogan had warned that a diverse six-party opposition coalition would struggle to form a government and that he would continue his strong leadership as president for a new five-year term.
(This story has been reprinted to correct a typographical error in the title)
Additional reporting by Jonathan Spicer and Mehmet Emin Caliskan in Istanbul; By Darren Butler and Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Nick MacPhee, Kim Coghill, Jane Merriman and Giles Elgood
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