Turkey to vote in crucial elections, President Erdogan faces toughest test yet | Political News

Istanbul, Türkiye – Turkish President Recep Tayyip said as his country was about to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Erdogan has positioned the next 100 years as the ‘Turkish Century’.

The May 14 elections could be portrayed in similarly striking terms – either an extension of Erdogan’s 20-year reign or a government pledge to return to parliamentary form from the current presidency. Either

The presidential and parliamentary elections, which many argue are the most important since Turkey first held a fair multiparty vote in 1950, also took place on May 14. .

All this is happening against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis. inflation peaked at 85% in October, earthquake More than 50,000 people died in the country in February.

President Erdoğan, who came to power in 2003, has presented a vision of further development and promised to expand on the improvements made by the Adaret Ve Karkunma Party (Justice and Development, AK Party) government.

This is the second national election under a presidential system in which power is concentrated in President Erdogan.

Erdogan’s Challenger

main opposition challenger, Kemal Kilikudarogluhas pledged to deal with what he calls an economic misgovernment while further democratizing and rescinding President Erdogan’s “one-man rule.”

“Maybe this will be the most important election in the history of the republic,” said Bulent Kusoglu, deputy leader of the Cumhuriyet Khalk party (Republican People’s Party, CHP) led by Kirikdaroglu.

“There is an awakening in society. With this awakening, if we win elections, society will change for the better.”

AK MP Rafza Kavakshi Khan also emphasized the importance of voting. “This election is especially important because we are now at the pace where many very good projects are being brought to the public.”

“To continue these projects and to provide new ones, especially for young people, we are working day and night to find solutions to new challenges that may arise in the future. , this will be a very important election.”

Opposition presidential candidate Kemal Kirikdaroglu attends a rally in Bursa, Turkey, May 11, 2023 [Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Erdogan trails in polls

The latest polls show that Kirikda Rogul is ahead of Erdogan in the presidential election, and if none of the three candidates win more than 50% of the vote, a re-election will be held in two weeks. However, the AK Party is expected to become the largest party in the Grand National Assembly in the National Assembly election.

Fourth Presidential Candidate Withdraws – Fatherland Party Muharrem Inse – Thursday’s vote is expected to lead to an increase in votes for Kirikuda Roglu.

Approximately 192,000 ballot boxes in 87 constituencies are open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (05:00 to 14:00 GMT). With the exception of Izmir, Bursa, Istanbul and Ankara, each of Turkey’s 81 provinces counts as an electoral district, which he divides into two or three voting regions.

Nationwide, 60.7 million people are eligible to vote. About 1.8 million Turkish citizens living abroad have already voted in 73 countries or at border gates.

The vote will appoint a president and 600 members of parliament for five-year terms. Members of Parliament are elected by proportional representation from a list of political parties.

political alliance

Twenty-four political parties take part in the elections, but it is common for them to form coalitions to run for office. This will allow smaller parties to enter parliament, with less than 7% of the national vote threshold.

The AK Party formed the Kumuhur Ittifaq (People’s Alliance) in alliance with the Miriyec Haleket Party (Nationalist Movement, MHP), the far-right Grand Unity Party, and the conservative New Welfare Party.

Kirikdaroglu’s CHP is a six-strong millet, consisting of the nationalist Yei Party (Party of Good), the conservative Saade Party (Felicity Party), the center-right Democrat Party (Democratic Party), and two leading parties.・It is the largest political party of the Ittifaq (National Alliance). The political parties founded by former Prime Minister Erdogan, the Democracy Ve Atulum Party (Democracy and Progress, Deva Party) and Gerecek Party (Future Party).

The pro-Kurdish Kharkalun Democratic Party (People’s Democratic Party, HDP) is fielding a candidate under the banner of the Yesilsol Party (Green Left Party, YSP) as the trial threatens to shut it down. is a major political party. Labor Freedom Alliance with the Turkiye Ishti Party (Turkish Workers’ Party, TIP) and several smaller left-wing groups. I endorsed the candidacy of Mr.

Two other alliances, the right-wing Atta League and the Coalition of Socialist Forces, also field candidates.

Supporters of Turkey’s main opposition coalition presidential candidate Kemal Kirikdaroglu cheer during a rally ahead of May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections in Tekirdag, Turkey, April 27, 2023. [Murad Sezer/Reuters]

voting process

Voters entering the polls take two ballots to choose either Erdogan, Kirikda Rogul or Sinan Ogan, who represents the Ata coalition, as president. They choose political parties on separate ballots in parliament.

Both ballots are placed in the same envelope before being posted in the ballot box. Ballots are counted at the polling stations at the end of the day and reports are sent to the local offices of the High Electoral Commission (YSK). First, the presidential votes will be counted, and by late Sunday, we should have a clear picture of the leadership’s results.

The election process is closely monitored by volunteers from the voluntary group Vote and Beyond and party representatives, and voter turnout is usually high, with a reported 87 per cent in 2018. there is

Official observers keep copies of ballot reports from polling places and forward them to party officials, allowing political parties to maintain their own national vote count tallies. CHP said it had recruited about 564,000 volunteers to monitor the polls.

In 11 states affected by February’s devastating earthquake, election commissions set up polling stations around temporary shelters for survivors. But it remains unclear how many of the hundreds of thousands of voters who left the earthquake zone will return to vote.

The United Nations estimates that about 3 million people left the affected areas in the weeks after the quake, mostly for other parts of Turkey. According to the Electoral Commission, only 133,000 voters from the earthquake area have moved their ballots to new addresses.

“There are a lot of unknowns that will only be revealed on election day,” said Berg Esen, assistant professor of political science at Istanbul’s Sabansi University.

“We don’t have hard data on how many people left the earthquake zone. If they didn’t register with their new place of residence, they would have to physically return to the earthquake zone on Election Day, which is not realistic.”

Amid concerns that the AK party could challenge the opposition’s victory, Erdogan pledged on Thursday to act “according to the demands of democracy.”

“I believe in the state, and whoever doesn’t respect the results of the ballot box doesn’t respect the state either,” he said in a television interview. He also suggested changing the current threshold for presidential elections from 50% or higher.

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