Spring Remains on Hold for Turkey’s Opposition

But Kılıçdaroğlu faces a higher bar much in the second round. Erdoğan is only short of around 550,000 votes to win, if the turnout remains at around 88.92 per cent, as was the case in the first round. Kılıçdaroğlu needs to acquire at least 2.7 million more votes.

Moreover, the distribution of parliamentary seats favours Erdoğan's side, a fact that he has already started using as the main driver of his campaign. His People's Alliance won 321 of the 600 seats, versus 213 seats for the main opposition Nation Alliance. The Pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, HDP, which led the Labour and Freedom Alliance, will have 66 seats.

Erdoğan already endorsed his motto for the run-off as "stability and security". He contends that to ensure harmony between the executive and legislative branches, they must be from the same alliance.

Erdoğan has won the battle of perceptions Turkish President Erdogan greets his supporters before he votes for the general elections, at a polling stsation in Istanbul, Turkey, 14 May 2023, as the country holds simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections. Photo: EPA-EFE/ERDEM SAHIN

Kılıçdaroğlu will resume campaigning in the run-off, but is trailing far behind. Although he still has a chance to outperform Erdoğan, he already lost the race in terms of perceptions. He spent most of election night mute except for a brief appearance for a live statement that lasted mere seconds. The other five leaders of the Nation Alliance were also absent, expect for a silent and fleeting presence around Kılıçdaroğlu.

Erdoğan, on the other hand, rushed to the stage to deliver a jubilant speech to thank the "overwhelming majority supporting him", affirming victory in the parliamentary elections and kicking...

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