Turkey is in the ballot, Erdogan the favourite, but the ultra-nationalist right is chasing votes

Turkey is in the ballot, Erdogan the favourite, but the ultra-nationalist right is chasing votes

Waiting in Türkiye for tomorrow’s vote. The ballot will show who is among the outgoing presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the opposition candidate, the Republican Kemal Kilicdaroğlu, He will rule the country for the next five years.

The 88% achieved in the first round confirm that the Turks still want to choose the next president after the February 6 earthquake catastrophe. Overall are expected in the elections 64 million voters In a country with a population of 83 million, around two million have already voted abroad.

In the first ballot, the outgoing president secured a majority of the seats in parliament and his Islamist and conservative party akp, Despite a drop in votes compared to the past, he was confirmed first with 35.58% of the vote, securing 267 of the 600 seats in Parliament.

In terms of numbers, little has changed compared to the first round: Erdogan keeps the initial distance z only undecided (8.2%) They could turn the tide in favor of the opposition.

“The time of the coups is over, let’s start the century of Turkey”, is the Turkish President’s admonition on Twitter, urging his constituents to demonstrate more vigorously than they did in the May 14 vote, which again revealed a polarized countrydivided in two parts.

On the one hand, 49.5% of voters who just two weeks ago expressed their preference for Erdogan chose continuity of a leader in the saddle for 20 years, first as prime minister and then since 2014 as president of the republic. On the other hand multi-party coalition, who reached 45%, rallied around the candidate Kilicdaroglu, who sees precisely this continuity as a danger of a regime advancing with only one man at the top. The leader of the opposition leads the Republican Party Chp, secular, secular, Kemalist in indissoluble association with the founder of the Turkish homeland, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In a word, a nationalist party by birth and definition; In recent years, he has repeatedly accused Erdogan of betraying the republic’s core values, Islamizing the country and delegitimizing the figure of Atatürk and the connotations of the “homeland” as “the fathers” wanted.

The CHP has received the support of HDP Kurds, Due to a court case, they had to present themselves without candidates and as the Green Left and got just under 10%.

The first ballot ended with a margin of just 2.5 million votes for Erdogan, very little in a country with 64 million voters and a traditionally very high turnout. The second ballot was necessitated by 5.17% of the votes, equivalent to 2.8 million preferences ‘third wheel’the far-right ultranationalist Sinan Ogan. After the first round, the spotlight turned to the former Gray Wolf, who has been absent from Turkey’s political scene for years and is now backing the incumbent President.

(Halil Kahraman / dia images via Getty Images)

A rock split in two above a house in Eski Kahta village in Adiyaman, Turkey, March 1, 2023

In these two weeks, the two candidates concentrated 8 million abstentions in the first ballot. However, Ogan’s 5.17% of the vote revived the stubborn ultranationalistsTurkish far right who saw the distortion and betrayal of homeland values ​​in the opening to Kurdish political parties and in the arrival of millions of Syrians fleeing the war.

So it seems clear that regardless of who gets elected in tomorrow’s vote, the Crescent Country election already has a clear winner: nationalism. The past two weeks have been a race for votes on the far right, with opposition candidate Kilicdaroglu notably excelling. Disappointed with not winning the first round, he cracked down on his staff, changing strategic advisers and giving the mayor of Istanbul greater centrality. Ekrem Imamoğlu, Now a candidate for the office of vice president: the man who in 2019, after 25 years, snatched the country’s most important metropolis from the president’s party in one fell swoop The campaign focused on the negative sentiment towards Syrian refugees that is now dominant.

Kilicdaroglu raised the tone with a video in which he accused Erdogan of not defending the borders, selling his citizenship and voting rights (140,000 Syrians are voting in Turkey) and bringing 10 million refugees into the country (3.9 Millions). according to the UN) and the prospect of the arrival of another 10 million if the president is reconfirmed in office. The high point of Kilicdaroglu’s change of course was the alliance with the ultra-right xenophobic and nationalist Zafer party (Victory), led by Umit Ozdag, author of a tough campaign against migrants.

“There will be a repatriation plan, but it is not right to take action against Syrian refugees,” said Foreign Minister Cavusoglu.

With Ogan’s support for Erdogan, the presidency game seemed over, but that’s not certain, while Kilicdaroglu’s alliance with Özdag would guarantee the opposition 1.2 million votes, almost half of the total package Ogan put together in the first round .

The agreement between Kilicdaroglu and Ozdag was sealed with a 7-point protocol in which the Repatriation of Syrians in one year. Özdag also assumed that if Kilicdaroglu won, he would take on the role of interior minister; and less than a week after the vote, giant banners reading “Syrians will go” appeared in major cities across the country.

Tayyip Erdogan arrives at the polling station ap

Tayyip Erdogan arrives at the polling station

In order to achieve an absolute majority, Erdogan had to ally himself with him again the nationalists by Mhpwhich received 10% approval, enough to guarantee 50 candidates, while the new Refah party, religiously inspired, received 5 MPs thanks to 2.82% of the approval. According to this, there will be 322 MPs in the coalition that supported the Turkish president, the majority of the 600 seats that make up the capital Ankara’s parliament; and 213 MPs from the six-party alliance that challenged Erdogan, led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

The challenger’s party is confirmed as the second largest party and largest opposition force with 25.3% and 169 seats in parliament. Nationalist allies of Iyi They get 9.7% and gain 44 seats, completing the composition of the 213 opposition MPs. 65 parliamentarians, on the other hand, were able to win over the left-wing alliance between the two parties Thread Kurds of the HDP the Labor Party with 10.54%, allowing them to pass the very high 10% hurdle and enter Parliament. Threatened with being unconstitutional, the HDP contested the elections with the Sinistra Verde symbol and won 61 seats with 8.9% of the vote. The Workers’ Party, which emerged from a split from the Turkish Communist Party, achieved four MPs with 1.73%.

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