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Business News/ News / World/  Voting begins in Turkey presidential election runoff

Turks began voting on Sunday in a presidential runoff that could see Tayyip Erdogan extend his rule into a third decade and persist with Turkey's increasingly authoritarian path, muscular foreign policy, and unorthodox economic governance.

Erdogan, 69, defied opinion polls and came out comfortably ahead with an almost five-point lead over his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the first round on May 14. But he fell just short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff, Reuters reported. 

Voting began at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will finish at 5 p.m. (1400 GMT). The outcome was expected to start becoming clear by early evening.

Erdogan secured 49.5% of votes in the initial ballot, just shy of the 50% threshold required to secure an outright win. Opposition challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu drew 45%. There is no threshold in the second round so whoever gets the most votes wins, as per Bloomberg reports. 

As Erdogan has a comfortable lead, a potential endorsement from Ogan could boost his chances of reelection and extend a near two-decade rule. If Ogan backs the opposition candidate, however, it still may not be enough to tip the scales.

Earlier, Ogan said on Twitter that he would prioritize stability. He’s also made it clear that he’d want a government position or the vice presidency in return for endorsement, which makes Erdogan a safer bet.

Ogan is a little-known figure backed by a small anti-immigration party that lacks the organizational clout to corral followers, who could end up voting in different directions.

Both candidates have sought to sway Ogan’s swing voters by reinforcing their nationalist credentials.


(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 28 May 2023, 10:56 AM IST
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