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Who could be the next leader of Turkey? Polls open in pivotal elections

After rallies held on the final day of campaigning, Turkey’s presidential elections and parliamentary election polls have opened.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu is the leader of the Republican People’s Party and President Recep T. Tayyip Erdoan faces his most difficult challenge yet.

Mr Erdogan, who is 69 years old, wants to run for a third term in a row as president after winning five elections with ease. He held the position as prime minister for 20 years before he abolished it.

Image: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish president, is running for a third term. Pic: AP

Kilicdaroglu is a 74-year-old Turkish politician who wants to remove the president from office and bring Turkey back to a strong parliamentary system. He does this by scrapping the system of the Turkish leader, which was introduced in 2017 by referendum.

Kilicdaroglu is against the current presidential system. Photo: AP

Sinan Ogan, a 55-year old nationalist politician, is also running in the election. This comes after candidate Muharrem Ince pulled out of the race last Thursday.

Image: Small right-wing parties are supporting Sinan Ogan. Pic: AP

The Victory Party, which is anti-migration and wants to repatriate Syrian refugees, has backed Mr Ogan’s candidacy.

The election is taking place in the midst of a severe economic downturn, high inflation and the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that occurred back in February.

A runoff will be held if no candidate for president receives more than 50 percent of the votes on 28 May.

Voters In Istanbul

On Sunday, the country will elect 600 members to its assembly.

Erdogan addressed three neighbourhood rallies on the eve before the elections in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. He dismissed speculations that he would not cede power in the event of a loss, saying that he saw the elections as “a celebration of democracy”.

Kilicdaroglu also visited the mausoleum Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Republican People’s Party. He had asked thousands of people who had gathered on Sunday to hear his final address to “change Turkey’s destiny”.

According to the Supreme Electoral Board of Turkey, all votes for Mr Ince are valid. His withdrawal will not be considered until a possible second round.


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