Foreign Election Cheating Reported

While Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan was leading after the first round of voting in Sunday’s presidential election, he remained just below the 50 percent mark needed to avoid a run-off election on May 28, Reuters reported.

With most of the votes counted, Erdogan held 49.51 percent of the vote while his key rival Kemel Kilicdaroglu garnered 44.88 percent. There were not enough outstanding votes to push Erdogan over the 50 percent threshold.

Meanwhile, Erdogan’s People’s Alliance, comprised of Erdogan’s AK Party and its nationalist partners, appeared poised to win a majority in the new Turkish Parliament, gaining 321 of the 600 seats. The majority will likely boost Erdogan’s chances in the upcoming run-off election.

Nationalist presidential candidate Sinan Ogan, who came in third in Sunday’s election, told Reuters that he would only back Kilicdaroglu if he refuses to give concessions to the pro-Kurdish party in parliament.

According to Reuters, the 2.8 million votes won by Organ in the first round of voting would be crucial if Kilicdaroglu hopes to defeat Erdogan in the May 28 run-off.

Polling had shown Erdogan trailing Kilicdaroglu before Sunday’s voting. However, the outcome of Sunday’s election suggests that Erdogan and his AK Party were able to rally more conservative voters despite the country’s skyrocketing inflation and a cost-of-living crisis.

While Kilicdaroglu’s supporters were disappointed in Sunday’s outcome, the mood was jubilant among Erdogan supporters who expressed confidence that their guy would prevail.

Kilicdaroglu, who heads a six-party alliance, accused the AK Party of interfering with vote counting and the reporting of results and vowed he would prevail against Erdogan in the run-off.

According to Turkey’s High Election Board, turnout in Sunday’s election was high, with nearly 89 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot and over half of overseas voters also casting their ballots.

The Associated Press reported that the OSCE observer mission monitoring Sunday’s election said Erdogan held an “unjustified advantage” in the election due to the use of public resources, the criminalization of the dissemination of false information, and online censorship. Additionally, Turkish media was biased in favor of Erdogan.