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Erdogan Leads Turkish Presidential Election but Wins Less Than 50% of Votes


In the presidential elections held in Turkey on Sunday, none of the candidates is gaining the 50% necessary to win in the first round. All 100% of the votes have been counted. Now the winner will be determined in the second round on May 28.

The presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey are called historic, because for the first time in 20 years of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule, an opposition candidate has a chance to succeed.

After counting 100% of the ballots, Erdogan is gaining 49.24% of the vote. His main rival is the candidate from the six-party opposition association "National Alliance" Kemal Kilicdaroglu - 45.06%. Another presidential candidate, Sinan Ogan, has 5.28%. Muharrem Ince, who heads the Fatherland Party and announced on May 11 that he was withdrawing his candidacy, still received 0.42% of votes.

Both main candidates have already commented on the preliminary results. Erdogan expressed hope for victory in the first round, adding that if the will of the people is destined to hold a second round, he will not mind. "Although there is no final data yet, I can say that we are in the lead by a clear margin," the president said, addressing his supporters from the balcony of the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party. His opponent, general opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, said he was confident of winning in the second round. "If a second round is announced, we will definitely win. The will to change in society is above 50 percent," the politician said.

The second round was predicted by almost all sociological polls, but many gave the first place in the race to Kılıçdaroğlu rather than Erdoğan. The third candidate in the elections, Sinan Ogan, promised to soon decide which of the rivals to support in the second round. The gap between the two main contenders slowly narrowed as votes were counted in major cities with large populations, including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir (where Kılıçdaroğlu leads the way).

The final results of the elections will be published on May 19 in the official gazette. Although they will not be announced until a few days later, it is safe to say that the turnout was high. The main question asked by many observers and journalists is whether the Turks can trust the results of the vote.

According to the results of counting 99% of the votes, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Erdogan, leads the parliamentary elections.


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