Turkey set for runoff election as Erdogan does better than expected

The Presidential race will be decided second round of voting later this month, ITV News international affairs editor Rageh Omaar reports

The vote on May 28 will be between the president who won 49.5% of the vote and his main opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu who secured 45%.

The remaining uncounted votes were not enough to tip Erdogan into outright victory, even if they all broke for him.

In the last election in 2018, Erdogan won 52% of the vote in the first round.

Erdogan, right, and his wife Emine gesture to supporters at the party headquarters, in Ankara. Credit: PA

Erdogan, who has led the country for almost 20 years, had seen his popularity fall in recent months after inflation spiralled out of control and the country was beset by a devastating earthquake.

But he has performed better than expected and his party has retained control of the Turkish parliament.

His opponent, Kilicdaroglu, 74 said: "We will absolutely win the second round ... and bring democracy."

Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on a billboard in Instanbul. Credit: AP

The elections come as the country is wracked by economic turmoil that critics blame on the government’s mishandling of the economy and a steep cost-of-living crisis.

Turkey is also reeling from the effects of a powerful earthquake that caused devastation in 11 southern provinces in February, killing more than 50,000 people.

Erdogan’s government has been criticised for its delayed and stunted response to the disaster as well as the lax implementation of building codes that exacerbated the misery.

Despite this results reported by the state-run Anadolu Agency showed Erdogan’s party dominating in the earthquake-hit region, winning 10 out of 11 provinces

Turkey’s election authority, the Supreme Electoral Board, said it was providing numbers to competing political parties “instantly” and would make the results public once the count was completed and finalised.

Millions turned out to vote. Credit: AP

NATO and Turkey's European neighbours have been watching the election closely as Erdogan has slowly become more authoritarian and critical of the West.

Turkey's position at the border between the Middle East and Europe, as well as its control of the Black Sea, means they're a vital partner for the UK, US and their allies.

Kilicdaroglu has promised to repair relations with the West if he wins as well as put Turkish democracy first as opposed to Erodgan's more authoritarian policies.

The election results showed that the alliance led by Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party looked like it would keep its majority in the 600-seat parliament, although the assembly has lost much of its legislative power after a referendum to change the country’s system of governance to an executive presidency narrowly passed in 2017.This year marks 100 years since Turkey’s establishment as a modern, secular republic born on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War.

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