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Turkiye's election board declares Erdogan as winner

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-29 01:50
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters following his victory in the second round of the presidential election at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey May 29, 2023. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ANKARA -- Turkish Supreme Election Council chairman declared incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the winner of the presidential runoff.

Ahmet Yener said to reporters that Erodgan is reelected Turkiye's president according to initial results.

Erdogan won 52.14 percent of votes in the presidential runoff against his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who garnered 47.86 percent of the votes, Yener said.

He added that 196,744 ballot boxes, or 99.43 percent of all, have been opened.

In the first round of the presidential election on May 14, Erdogan earned 49.52 percent of the vote while Kilicdaroglu received 44.88 percent.

Neither secured more than 50 percent of the votes needed to call a winner in the first round, therefore an election runoff was held for the first time for the presidency.

The third-place candidate, nationalist politician Sinan Ogan, with 5.17 percent of votes, announced his endorsement of Erdogan in the runoff where only the two most supported were able to race.

Erdogan's People's Alliance, composed of the ruling Justice and Development Party and Nationalist Movement Party, garnered a majority of 323 seats in the 600-seat parliament in the parliament election, while the six-party opposition block Nation Alliance received 212 seats.

The twin elections saw a high voter turnout at 86.98 percent, with almost 54 million citizens going to the polls.

Erdogan, who has been leading the country since he became prime minister in 2003, became the first president of Turkiye in 2018 following a constitutional referendum in 2017 which changed Turkiye's parliamentary system into a presidential system.

Under his leadership, Turkiye has increased its presence in regional affairs despite contentions with the United States and other Western allies on issues such as the Syria conflict and rapprochement with Russia.

Erdogan's win came amid the country's current economic troubles and cost-of-living crisis. The Turkish lira lost roughly 80 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar in five years and the inflation rate is around 50 percent. Erdogan is a supporter of an unorthodox economic policy of lowering interest rates despite high inflation.

The crisis is further exacerbated by the devastating earthquakes in early February in southern Turkiye, which killed more than 50,000 people and left tens of thousands of people homeless.

In the last two weeks, the two candidates focused to appeal to nationalist votes in their campaigns. They both pledged to focus on problems regarding refugee issues and vowed to end terrorism as the May 14 results showed an increase in support for nationalist parties.

Erdogan was promising a new "Turkish century" if he is reelected. He also stressed his presidency as a requirement for harmony among state institutions and stability in the country as his alliance held the majority at the parliament.

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