Turkey, which went to the polls en masse on Sunday for the first round of the presidential election, moved on Monday to a second round, scheduled for May 28, which promises to be favorable to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The latest count, covering nearly 99.9% of the ballot boxes, grants 49.5% of the vote to the head of state, in power for 20 years, against 44.9% to his social-democratic rival Kemal Kiliçdaroglu.
The “reis” Erdogan, whom the polls nevertheless gave behind, also retains his majority in Parliament.
The outcome of the second round promises to be more than uncertain for the opposition, which claimed Sunday evening to be “in the lead”.
It will depend in part on a third man, the ultranationalist Sinan Ogan, who won 5.2% of the vote in the first round, and has not yet announced whether he would support one of the two candidates.
The impact of the economic crisis and the devastating earthquake of February 6, which claimed at least 50,000 lives, did not have the effects envisaged by analysts.
The government’s response, deemed late, had nevertheless aroused the anger of many survivors.
But this feeling was not reflected at the polls, the heavily affected provinces having massively renewed their confidence in the president, who promised to rebuild 650,000 homes in the affected areas as quickly as possible.
“The Nation places its trust in Erdogan”, headlined the pro-government daily on Monday. Sabahdescribing the arrival at the head of the outgoing president in the first round of “tremendous success”.
“Respect” the vote
Until Sunday, the opposition camp, a vast coalition led by the CHP (social democrat, secular), the party of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey, called for “to end in the first round”.
But the vice-president of the party acknowledged at midday Monday that the “some 300 ballot boxes from abroad not counted will not change the situation”.
“We will certainly win in the second round,” he said, however.
Sunday evening, the camp of Mr. Kiliçdaroglu had disputed the first figures, which gave a comfortable advance to Mr. Erdogan, affirming that the results of the polling stations most favorable to the opposition had not yet been counted because of multiple appeals.
The two candidates said they were ready to meet again in two weeks and President Erdogan, in power since 2003, as he had already said, promised to “respect” the verdict.
Faced with a ballot for the first time, when he was re-elected in 2018 in the first round of the presidential election, the head of state showed his confidence.
“I sincerely believe that we will continue to serve our people for the next five years,” he said overnight to his exultant supporters.
For Bayram Balci, researcher at CERI-Sciences Po in Paris and former director of the French Institute for Anatolian Studies in Istanbul, “the Turks played stability and security”.
“They refused to place their trust in a motley coalition with divergent interests, wondering how they would manage to govern together”.
“Tayyip Erdogan will win. He is a real leader, the Turks trust him and he has a vision for Turkey,” Hamdi Kurumahmut, an Istanbul resident working in tourism, told AFP on Monday.
The main index of the Istanbul Stock Exchange, after an opening plunge of 6%, remained down 3% at 3:30 p.m. local time.
The Turkish lira for its part reached a historically low level, around 19.7 pounds to the dollar.
“The outcome of the elections will be decisive for the Turkish economy,” worried analyst Bartosz Sawicki. “Will Turkey continue its heterodox momentum, its unbalanced policies or return to the path of reform and recovery? he wondered.