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28 May, 2023 20:41

Election body confirms Erdogan victory

The announcement came after the Turkish president had already declared himself the winner
Election body confirms Erdogan victory

The head of Türkiye’s Supreme Election Council has announced that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won a third term in office after defeating Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a runoff election on Sunday.

Erdogan claimed 52.14% of the vote to Kilicdaroglu’s 47.86%, Supreme Election Council chairman Ahmet Yener told reporters on Sunday night. Erdogan defeated his rival by a margin of around 2.2 million votes, according to figures released by the council.

“No one has lost today. Every single one of our 85 million citizens has won,” Erdogan said in his second victory speech outside the presidential palace in Ankara. “It is time to leave aside all the disputes and quarrels about the election period, and unite and band together around our national goals and dreams.”

Erdogan’s victory was all but assured for several hours by the time Yener spoke to the press, with a count by Türkiye’s Anadolu Agency showing an unclosable gap between Erdogan and Kilcdaroglu within hours of polls closing earlier on Sunday evening.

By the time around 98% of ballots had been counted, Erdogan declared victory in a rally outside his Istanbul residence, in which he thanked “each and every member of the nation” for taking part in the election.

The election was Türkiye’s second in as many weeks, after Erdogan emerged on top during a first round of voting on May 14, but failed to break the 50% threshold necessary to avoid a runoff. With third candidate Sinan Ogan eliminated, a second round was called for Sunday.

President since 2014 and prime minister for 11 years beforehand, Erdogan is a social conservative who has steered Türkiye away from integration with the EU while strengthening his own powers and promoting moderate Islamist policies at home. He has developed close trade and diplomatic links with Russia and China while positioning himself as a potential peacemaker in regional conflicts, including in Ukraine.

Kilicdaroglu is a more liberal politician, who promised to mend Türkiye’s strained ties with its NATO allies and restart EU accession talks.

Kilicdaroglu has effectively conceded defeat, telling his supporters on Sunday that he was “saddened” by the results of “the most unjust ever”  election, and would continue to fight for “real democracy” in the future.