Elections in Türkiye: Niki Kilicdaroglu wins, according to polls

By | May 8, 2023

The latest poll widens the gap between the two presidential candidates with Kilicdaroglu winning on the first Sunday.

Six days before the May 14 elections, opinion polls show presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu as the winner, and indeed since the first Sunday. At the same time, Tayyip Erdoğan is intensifying the tension in Greco-Turkish, trying to cultivate nationalist sentiments and win the vote of the citizens of this ideology. Finally, he constantly inaugurates infrastructure and equipment, wanting to show the work done during his management.

On the other hand, Kilicdaroglu is trying to attack the Turkish president through inflation, precision and lack of democracy, but also the issues that caused the loss of all those people who lost their lives due to the devastating earthquakes on 6th of September. February. As for democracy, he points out that if he is elected he will grant more powers to parliament, while his ultimate goal is comprehensive constitutional reform and change of the current constitution.

What do the polls show?

According to the latest MAK poll, Kemal Kilicdaroglu is a trailblazer in the battle for the presidency. A few days before the elections, the official opposition leader maintains a 5-point lead, while since the first Sunday he has been very close to victory.

Specifically, the party quotas in the survey are established as follows:

Tayyip Erdogan: 45.4 (+1.7 since April 23)
Kemal Kilicdaroglu: 50.9 (+3.1)
Muharrem Inje (Motherland Party): 1.7 (-1.7)
Sinan Ogan: 2.0 (+0.9)

As regards the parliamentary elections, there is a strengthening of the two major parties:

Justice and Development Party (AKP): 36.9 (+1.1)
Republican People’s Party (CHP): 30.1 (+1.0)
(suitable for Kurds) YSP: 10.4 (+0.9)
Nationalist Action Party (MHP): 6.6 (-0.6)
“Good Party” (İYİ): 12.6 (+0.9)
Others: 3.4 (-3.3)

Eight out of ten young people vote for Kilicdaroglu

According to Ozer Senkar, director of MetroPoll, a Turkish polling company, 78% of voters in the 18-24 age group have expressed their intention to vote, lower than the general population of more than 80%. “In our April poll results, half of young voters prefer Kilicdaroglu,” Sencar told Middle East Eye.

“Kilicdaroglu is by far the most popular candidate among voters in the 18-24 age group. Erdogan can get around 30% of the vote in this age group.” Just days away from the election date , Sencar stated that “young people in Turkey, regardless of their socio-economic status and political beliefs, have similar concerns about their future, especially in relation to the prevailing uncertainty.

However, confidence in the person of Kemal Kilicdaroglu seems to have its limits. “I don’t think the opposition candidate, Kilicdaroglu, is what people really like,” says Furkan, 21, who is studying engineering at the Kultur Universitesi.

Furkan will vote for Kilicdaroglu, but said the opposition leader lacks the charisma that has made Erdogan such a formidable political titan in Turkish politics. “Unfortunately, Kilicdaroglu is also known as a loser. He has been the leader of the opposition for more than a decade and nothing has changed in Turkey,” Furkan said.

“People say that one of the main reasons why Erdogan has stayed in power for so long and still has a chance to win the next election is because of the weak opposition led by Kilicdaroglu.” Then Furkan laughs: “What can I say? I’m just a 21 year old fool.”

What if Erdogan loses?

Some analysts say that if Erdogan loses the vote by a narrow margin, he could question the results, based on past experience. During the 2019 local elections in Istanbul and Ankara, the AKP lost control of the country’s financial center and capital, prompting party officials in both cities to denounce the result, citing election irregularities.

The CHP’s lead in Istanbul was particularly narrow and ultimately led to the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) ruling in favor of a repeat vote to which the opposition disagreed. The CHP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu won the second round, dealing a heavy blow to Erdogan. Ulgen questioned the independence of the YSK and said he might give in to possible demands for a recount. The body will be the final judge of the fight, he said.

A 2023 Freedom House report stated that YSK judges, who oversee all voting procedures, “are appointed by AKP-dominated judicial bodies and often differ from the AKP in their rulings.” The AKP’s “institutional dominance” over SMEs and other sectors of society also “tilts the electoral field” in Erdogan’s favor, Washington-based Freedom House said.

What is the election process?

In Türkiye, elections are held every five years. Presidential candidates can be nominated by parties that have passed the threshold of 5% of voters in the last parliamentary elections or by parties that have collected at least 100,000 signatures in favor of their candidacy.

The candidate who obtains more than 50% of the votes in the first round is elected president, but if no candidate obtains a majority of the votes, the election goes to a runoff between the two candidates who obtained the most votes in the first round.

Parliamentary elections are held simultaneously with presidential elections. Turkey follows a system of proportional representation in parliament, where the number of seats a party receives in the 600-seat legislature is directly proportional to the votes it wins.

Parties must obtain at least 7% of the vote, either alone or in alliance with other parties, to enter parliament. Voting will take place on May 14, when both elections will be held simultaneously. The second vote for president, if it takes place, will take place on May 28.

Polls open May 14 at 8:00 AM. local time (and Greek time) and closes at 5 pm Results are expected after 9 pm.

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