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LM NEWS 24

Polling Stations Closed After Turkey Presidential Election

Polling Stations

Turks have finished voting for one of the most consequential elections in Turkey, a contest that could bring an end to or extend President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 20-year rule, Al Jazeera reported.

The polling station closed after the general election concluded at 5 pm on Sunday.
The opinion polls have said that Erdogan’s main opposition or the one that could challenge his throne is Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who heads a six-party alliance, a slight lead, with two polls on Friday showing him above the 50 per cent threshold needed to win outright. If neither wins more than 50 per cent of the vote on Sunday, a run-off will be held on May 28, according to Al Jazeera.

Voters will decide the fate of Turkey’s democracy less than three months after a February 6 earthquake killed more than 50,000 people and displaced more than 5.9 million across southern Turkey and northern Syria.

Turkish President held his last election rallies in Istanbul on last Saturday, before a so-called propaganda ban went into effect, accusing the opposition of working with US President Joe Biden to topple him while making a final appeal in the run-up to the biggest challenge to his 20-year rule, according to CNN.

One of his talking points has been that the opposition is receiving orders from the West and that they will bow down to Western nations’ wishes if elected. At a rally in Istanbul, Erdogan also recalled comments made by Biden, and published by the New York Times in January 2020, when he was campaigning for the White House.

Analysts predict a record voter turnout this year, and a tight race between Erdogan and the main opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and presidential nominee for the six-party Nation Alliance bloc.

More than 1.8 million voters living abroad already cast their votes on April 17, the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported Wednesday, citing the country’s deputy foreign minister.

Turkey’s demographics are also expected to play a role. Most of the provinces struck by the February earthquake were strongholds of Erdogan and his AK Party. But Supreme Election Council (YSK) chief Ahmet Yener said last month that at least 1 million voters in quake-stricken zones are expected not to vote this year amid displacement.

And even if Kilicdaroglu wins the election, some analysts say Erdogan may not hand over power to his successor without a struggle, reported CNN.

Apart from Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu, right-wing Ancestral Alliance candidate Sinan Ogan is also running.

Centrist Homeland Party leader Ince said he had withdrawn following a “slander campaign” against him. He has faced weeks of lurid allegations on social media in Turkey and the Ankara public prosecutor’s office said Thursday it had opened an investigation into potential blackmail.

His party, Homeland, will however remain in the parliamentary race.

The 59-year-old ran for president in 2018 but lost against Erdogan. In March this year, he broke away from Kilicdaroglu’s CHP and joined the presidential race. He initially rebuffed calls by his former party to pull out amid concern that he’d take votes away from Erdogan’s rival.

Ince did not endorse any of the remaining candidates; his name will also remain on the ballot. His withdrawal is a potential boost to Kilicdaroglu.

Some analysts say that if Erdogan loses the vote by a small margin, it opens up the possibility for him to contest the results. And if past experience is a gauge, the president and his AK Party may not take a defeat lying down, reported CNN. (ANI)

Read More: lokmarg.com

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