Presidential election in Turkey: Three against Erdogan

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Status: 03/31/2023 09:09 am

The candidates for the Turkish presidential election in May have been chosen. Three opposition politicians are challenging President Erdogan. CHP boss Kilicdaroglu is given the best chance.

Turkey’s electoral authority has announced the final list of candidates for the May 14 presidential elections. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to be in office for a third term. The opposition considers such a candidacy to be unconstitutional.

There are three challengers against Erdogan: The Turkish media see Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the largest opposition party CHP, as the most important competitor, who is ahead of Erdogan in some polls. With Muharrem Ince, Erdogan’s challenger from 2018 is also listed – he is competing for the home party Memleket Partisi. The candidate of the Ata Ittifaki electoral alliance and the third challenger is Sinan Ogan.

What chance does the opposition have?

CHP politician Kilicdaroglu is campaigning as the top candidate in a six-party alliance. According to polls, Ince is well behind Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu. Against this background, Ince’s candidacy triggered a discussion as to whether he was not splitting the opposition and thus acting contrary to his declared goal of letting Erdogan resign. Sinan Ogan is considered an outsider.

In the first ballot, a candidate must get more than 50 percent of the votes. If this does not happen, there is a runoff between the two strongest candidates two weeks after the first election date.

Erdogan’s candidacy is legal

Erdogan is allowed to run in the presidential elections despite protests from the opposition. The Turkish electoral authority rejected a corresponding objection by the opposition on Thursday. Erdogan’s candidacy is compatible with the law, it said. Several opposition parties had argued that Erdogan’s candidacy was unconstitutional because he had already been elected president twice. According to the government, Erdogan’s previous terms in office do not count because the elections are now being ordered by presidential decree.

Erdogan is confronted with resentment in parts of the population. After the earthquake disaster on February 6th, which killed more than 50,000 people, there was heavy criticism. Affected people complained about the lack of or only sluggish help when rescuing those who were buried. The opposition accused Erdogan of “failure”.



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