The top two candidates in Turkey’s presidential election, incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu, appear headed for a runoff after neither earned 50% of the popular vote in the nation’s presidential election first-round. The Wall Street Journal’s Jared Malsin reports:
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main challenger said they were both prepared to accept a runoff election later this month with neither candidate claiming an outright victory in a vote that marked the most severe political challenge to the Turkish leader’s two decades in power.
Early results appeared to show neither Mr. Erdogan or his top challenger, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, reached the 50% threshold required to avoid a runoff, which would take place on May 28.
Mr. Erdogan won 49.49% of votes, with Mr. Kilicdaroglu claiming 44.7% with more than 91% of votes counted, according to the head of Turkey’s election authority, who spoke on national television early on Monday.
If a runoff election is confirmed, it would send the country of 85 million people into two weeks of political uncertainty and intense campaigning as both sides seek to rally a majority.
The Turkish election could have far-reaching geopolitical consequences due to Turkey’s role as an aspiring global power and a key member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that also has close relations with both Russia and Ukraine.
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