Muharrem Ince withdraws from Turkish presidential race
Turkey's presidential race becomes one candidate less.
Turkish presidential election candidate Muharrem Ince on Sunday announced he was withdrawing from the race, in a potential boost to the opposition's Kemal Kilicdaroglu from the Republican People's Party (CHP), the main rival of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
"I am withdrawing my name from the presidential candidacy. I am withdrawing from the race. I tried to open a channel but failed," Ince confirmed.
"With no excuses, when they lose the election, they will blame us. I want a vote from every house to the hometown party, I am withdrawing from the presidential candidacy, I am doing this for my country," he added.
Ince was one of four candidates in the vote, alongside Erdogan, his main opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Sinan Ogan. A survey earlier showed Erdogan falling behind Kilicdaroglu by more than five percentage points ahead of the election.
Erdogan faces the biggest test of his 20-year rule in May elections that will decide not only who leads Turkey but how it will be governed, where its economy is headed, and what role it may play to ease conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Erdogan's task has been complicated by a cost-of-living crisis, triggered by a lira slump and soaring inflation, and a devastating earthquake in February that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and left millions homeless.
A survey by the closely-watched pollster Konda on Thursday showed Erdogan lagging behind Kilicdaroglu by more than five percentage points ahead of Sunday's presidential election.
The survey put support for Erdogan at 43.7% and Kilicdaroglu at 49.3%, leaving him short of the majority needed to win in the first round and suggesting the election would go to a run-off between the main two candidates on May 28.
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