President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been at Turkey’s helm for 20 years, is favoured to win a new five-year term in the second-round runoff, after coming just short of an outright victory in the first round on May 14
A woman votes at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday. Pic/AP
Voters in Turkey returned to the polls Sunday to decide whether the country’s longtime leader stretches his increasingly authoritarian rule into a third decade, or is unseated by a challenger who has promised to restore a more democratic society. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been at Turkey’s helm for 20 years, is favoured to win a new five-year term in the second-round runoff, after coming just short of an outright victory in the first round on May 14.
The divisive populist finished four percentage points ahead of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the candidate of a six-party alliance and leader of Turkey’s center-left main opposition party. Erdogan noted that it’s the first presidential runoff election in Turkey’s history. He also praised the high voter turnout in the first round and said he expected participation to be high again on Sunday.
“I pray to God, that it (the election) will be beneficial for our country and nation,” he said. Kilicdaroglu (pronounced KEH-lich-DAHR-OH-loo), a 74-year-old former bureaucrat, has described the runoff as a referendum on the country’s future. “This election took place under very difficult circumstances, there was all sorts of slander and defamation,” Kilcdaroglu said. “But I trust in the common sense of the people. Democracy will come, freedom will come, people will be able to wander the streets and freely criticize politicians.”
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