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Elections in Turkey 2023

Turkey held the first round of its 2023 elections on May 14. Contrary to expectations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his "People's Alliance" outperformed their rivals.

After winning the first round, Erdoğan is favourite to win the presidential run-off on May 28. The incumbent fell short of an outright majority, but came very close with 49.5 per cent of the vote in the first round. His rival, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the opposition Nation Alliance, received 44.89 per cent of the vote. In parliament, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) remains the largest party despite losing votes - and the People's Alliance has a majority.

As the presidential candidate of a heterogeneous coalition of six parties from across the political spectrum, Kılıçdaroğlu's biggest challenge is to unite and mobilise the opposition behind his candidacy. The Labour and Freedom Alliance, which includes the pro-Kurdish Green and Left Party (YSP) as well as smaller left-wing parties, is also supporting the Republican People's Party (CHP) leader's candidacy. Kılıçdaroğlu is appealing to nationalist voters to make up the difference. However, as the election results show, he has not yet succeeded in winning the full support of nationalists outside the Erdoğan camp.

Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu differ on almost every issue, including Turkey's governance system, and their understanding of democracy, and the management of the country’s economy and foreign policy. The election results will therefore be crucial for the future of the country. Even if Erdoğan is expected to win, the margin of victory will be important in shaping some of his future policies.

This „In Focus“ page brings together various publications providing analysis on the different agendas of the ruling coalition and the opposition parties, their respective electoral strategies and chances, and forecasts of post-election scenarios.

In addition, you can find more information on the elections in the regular roundup of the CATS Network.