Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attend a rally ahead of the May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections, in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 12, 2023.
Dilara Senkaya | Reuters
Turkey’s presidential election could be headed for an unprecedented runoff, as neither 20-year incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu had secured an outright win Monday morning.
With a battered economy, tensions over its relationship with Russia and NATO, and fears over a slide toward authoritarianism, the election in the sharply divided country of 85 million people could hardly come at a more pivotal time.
A candidate must get more than 50% of the vote to win the highly-charged race. If no one passes that threshold, the vote goes to a runoff election in the coming weeks.
With more than 99% of votes counted as of 8 p.m. ET Sunday, Erdogan is ahead with 49.46% of the vote while Kilicdaroglu, who has pledged to bring change and economic reform,, has 44.79%, according to Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK).
Erdogan and his conservative, Islamic-rooted Justice and Development party (AKP) are confident. “We strongly believe that we will continue to serve our nation for the next 5 years,” he told throngs of supporters late Sunday night.
Whereas Kilicdaroglu, who is representing a united front of six different opposition parties all seeking to unseat Erdogan, vowed to win the election in a second round of voting.
This is a developing story and will be updated shortly.