Early voting starts in Turkey's presidential runoff in Russia
Early voting in Turkey's presidential runoff is currently underway in 77 countries worldwide.
Early voting in the second round of Turkey's presidential elections began on Saturday in the country's embassy in Moscow, according to a Sputnik correspondent.
The polling station will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time (05:00-19:00 GMT) from Saturday through Monday. Eligible voters can also vote at polling stations in Turkey's general consulates in Saint Petersburg, Kazan, and Novorossiysk, Russia. "So afterward, we will transfer all the votes to Turkey for counting. That's why I hope all our citizens [living in Russia] will come and join us for voting processes," Turkish Ambassador in Moscow Mehmet Samsar told reporters.
The ambassador and his wife were among the first to vote in the embassy's early elections. Samsar also stated that it was "very early" to predict the outcome of the runoff, but he was confident that Ankara's approach toward Moscow would remain unchanged.
Early voting in Turkey's presidential runoff is underway in 77 countries worldwide and Ankara had previously stated that there were over 3.4 million registered voters abroad. Turkey held legislative and presidential elections on May 14. In the first round, incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received 49.24% of the vote, while his primary opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, received 45.07%. A runoff election is scheduled for May 28.
The upcoming run-off elections
In the upcoming second round, it is important to consider that Erdogan is expected to have an advantageous position over Kilicdaroglu due to his lead in the first round and the positive parliamentary results favoring the ruling coalition in contrast to the opposition.
The outcome came as a surprise and disappointment to the opposition, who had set high expectations for both the presidential and parliamentary elections. In the presidential race, the opposition was hopeful that even if they couldn't secure victory in the first round, Kilicdaroglu would at least receive the highest number of votes.
Based on the results, it has become evident that Erdogan is leading by around four points over Kilicdaroglu in the first round. The parliamentary elections are also of great significance as the opposition had hoped to secure a majority in parliament, thereby assuming leadership.
Read next: Erdogan's AK Party in the lead in Turkish parliamentary elections
There has been an ongoing debate within opposition circles that even if Erdogan is not defeated in the presidential elections, simply gaining a majority in parliament would undermine his satisfaction of winning a new presidential term. It has become evident that the opposition is experiencing a crisis, not only in the parliamentary elections but also in achieving a presidential majority, as the ruling coalition has managed to secure a majority in parliament.
In terms of alliances, analysts indicate that there has been a significant shift for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) since it formed a coalition with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the middle of the previous decade. They argue that it is because the AKP is no longer able to reach power and govern independently; it is in need of forming a government.