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Turkey votes in elections seen as referendum on Erdogan’s two decades in power


A man walks past election campaign billboards of Turkish President and People’s Alliance’s presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and CHP party leader and Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, May 5, 2023. © Emrah Gurel, AP

Turkey voted in key presidential and legislative elections on Sunday that could either extend President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-decade grip on power or put the nation on a more liberal, secular course. Turnout was expected to be high in what has effectively turned into a referendum on Turkey’s longest-serving leader and his Islamic conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP). Follow our live coverage of today’s events. All times are Paris time (GMT+2). 

  • While Erdogan is seeking a third term that would extend his two decades in power, six opposition parties have united behind a single candidate  Kemal Kilicdaroglu  hoping the centre-left civil servant has a chance of unseating the Turkish strongman. Far-right challenger Sinan Ogan is backed by four nationalist parties. 
  • Opinion polls have given Kilicdaroglu a slight lead over Erdogan, with two polls on Friday showing him above the 50 percent threshold needed to win outright. If neither wins more than 50 percent of the vote on Sunday, a run-off will be held on May 28.

  • Opposition hopes are high amid widespread anger over inflation near 50 percent and frustration over delayed relief efforts following February’s devastating earthquakes, but Erdogan has a strong support base in many parts of the country.

  • The elections are being watched intently in Western capitals, the Middle East and Moscow as well as by other NATO members. Erdogan has become one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies while drifting away from Western alliances.

Follow the results and reactions of today’s vote on the FRANCE 24 live blog below.

This story originally appeared on France24

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