Turkish far-right candidate exits presidential race, holds key to run-off outcome

Newsdesk
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Turkey’s presidential election will be decided in a May 28 run-off vote after incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu failed to win an outright majority in the first round, according to the electoral body.

The incomplete results for both frontrunners remained just below the threshold 50% mark after 99% of ballot boxes were opened, according to Turkey’s Supreme Election Council. So far, Erdogan has 49.40% of the vote, Kilicdaroglu gained 44.96% and the third candidate, Sinan Ogan, earned 5.2%, the head of the council Ahmed Yener said.

Ogan, a former member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), surprised many observers by securing more than 5% of the votes, despite having limited resources and media coverage. He ran as an independent candidate with a platform of defending Turkey’s sovereignty, secularism and democracy.

However, his performance was not enough to qualify him for the second round, which will pit Erdogan against Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the candidate of a six-party alliance.

Ogan has not yet announced his endorsement for either candidate in the run-off, but he has been critical of Erdogan’s policies and authoritarian tendencies. He has also expressed support for Turkey’s membership in NATO and its cooperation with Western allies.

The run-off vote will be a crucial test for Erdogan, who has been in power for 20 years and faces a strong challenge from Kilicdaroglu, who has promised to restore Turkey’s economy, democracy and international reputation.

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