President Erdogan leads the second round of elections (ANALYTICS)

By Javid Valiyev

The Turkish people will vote in the second round to elect their President for the first time in the history of the Republic. Since its establishment in 1923, the president was elected by the parliament in Türkiye, while the president was elected by the people for the first time in 2014 with the constitutional amendment in Türkiye as a result of the referendum in 2007. For the first time in these elections, R.T. Erdogan became a presidential candidate and won the elections. In 2017, another constitutional amendment was made in Türkiye and it was decided that the president's term of office would be elected by the people as 5+5 twice. Thus, in the presidential elections held in 2018 after the constitutional amendment, R.T. Erdogan was elected president in the first round.

However, since none of the candidates received more than 50% of the votes in the presidential elections held on 14 May 2023, the election was left to the second round. Thus, in the second-round elections to be held on May 28, the two candidates who received the most votes in the first round, Recep Tayyib Erdogan and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, will compete. In the second round, the candidates with the most votes will win the election. That is, 50+1 support will not be searched.

It was thought that the results of the first-round elections would mostly be determined by the February 6 earthquake and the rate of inflation in the economy. For this reason, the main target of the candidates before the elections was the elimination of the results of the economy and earthquake. Before the elections, President Recep Tayyib Erdogan quickly won the support of the voters by announcing packages that would improve the social and economic situation of the people, and also by taking steps to solve the housing needs of the earthquake victims. However, there was a surprise at the end of the first round, and 5% of Turkish nationalists did not vote for the third candidate, showing that they have the power to affect the results of the second election. One of the most important points here has been the return of Syrian migrants back. These migrants create a serious burden on the Turkish economy and pose a threat to the country's social order.

The second round of elections will be held on May 28, and in this election where two candidates will compete, the candidate with the most votes will be elected. This means that elections are made from scratch. For this reason, the candidates started their propaganda again according to the conditions of political competition. Of course, the situation of Kilicdaroglu, who received 5% fewer votes in the first round, was a little more difficult.

A few days after the first tour, Kemal Kilicdaroglu shared a video with Ataturk’s picture and promised to send Syrian immigrants back to their homes. But Zafer Party leader Umit Ozdag, who supported Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the second-round elections, was in favor of adopting tougher policies, which caused criticism from liberal and left-wing writers who support Kilicdaroglu.

President Erdogan also said that in the first stage, housing was built for 1 million Syrian immigrants and they would be sent back. On the other hand, one of the agenda items of the ongoing four-way meeting between Türkiye, Russia, Iran, and Suriya in Moscow is the return of Syrian immigrants. While the Turkish government was planning to send Syrian immigrants back gradually.

Both political rivals called the voters to the polls before the elections, and the result of those who voted abroad shows that the voters will participate in the second round with a high percentage. While 1 million 691 thousand 287 out of 3 million 423 thousand 759 voters registered abroad went to the polls on May 14, this figure increased to 1 million 889 thousand 398 for the 28 May second round elections.

On the other hand, both candidates want to collect the remaining votes of the first-round while trying to maintain their votes in the first round. For example, while the turnout in the Presidential Election was 87.04 percent in the first round, 1 million 37 thousand 104 votes were deemed invalid. While the number of valid votes was 54 million 796 thousand 49, 8 million 312 thousand 351 of the registered voters did not vote. The third candidate, Sinan Ogan, received 2 million 831 thousand 239 votes. In total, both candidates can receive the support of 12 million 180 thousand 694 voters in the second round. This corresponds to approximately 20% of the registered voters in Türkiye. Considering that the difference between the two candidates in the first round was about 5%, 20 % means a large number.

Of course, the second round of elections meant re-voting and a new election. That's why everything started from scratch. But on the way to the second round, President R.T. Erdogan has some advantages.

First of all, he got 5% more votes than his opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the first round and it is expected that he will maintain this performance while going to the second round.

Second, the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye (TGNA) is the victorious party, the People`s Alliance (Cumhur Ittifakı). In the parliamentary elections held on May 14, the Cumhur Peopel`s Alliance, which supported President Erdogan, won 323 out of 600 seats in the TGNA. This may mean that the voters who want stability in Türkiye will support the People's Alliance candidate R.T. Erdogan in the second-round presidential election.

Third, although the voters admit that there are problems, they point to Erdogan as the solution address for these problems. The poll results and the results of the first-round elections show this.

Fourthly, President Erdogan, before the second round of elections, pulled Ata Alliance candidate Sinan Ogan to his side and prevented all the votes who voted for him from going to the Nation Alliance (Millet Ittifaki) candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Fifth, the opposition's cooperation with the Turkish nationalist Umit Ozdag may disturb the Kurdish nationalist voters who voted for Kılıcdaroglu in the first round. For this reason, it is thought that Kemal Kilicdaroglu will receive lower votes in the second round than in the first round.

As a result, the second-round presidential elections to be held on May 28 in Türkiye are the elections of the year. Although this year many elections were held in the world, including Türkiye's neighbors, the attention was focused on the elections to be held in Türkiye. Whether in the first or second round elections, Türkiye gave a very serious test of democracy. The most concrete signs of this are the participation of 87% of the voters in the first round, the votes of the two candidates close to each other, and the election to the second round. In these elections, Turkish society's confidence in political competition, the results of the elections, and democracy was renewed.

Javid Valiyev, Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the Baku-based Center for the International Relations Analysis (AIR Center), exclusively for News.Az

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