Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Turkish opposition’s presidential candidate, has removed CHP vice chairman Onursal Adıgüzel from his position, reportedly due to problems encountered in communicating election results on the night of May 14, according to Turkish media.
According to the unofficial results of the presidential election on May 14, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received 49.51 percent of the vote, while Kılıçdaroğlu garnered 44.88 percent.
A presidential runoff will be held on May 28 since none of the candidates were able to secure 50 percent of the vote plus one additional vote, a constitutional requirement for election to the position of president.
Critics have accused the CHP and opposition media outlets of allegedly providing support to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) psychological warfare tactics on the night of the election.
The criticism is focused on their coverage of data from the state-run Anadolu news agency, which has a unique algorithm that initially assigns high scores to Erdoğan but eventually evens out the scores over time and is said to have undermined the motivation of opposition poll observers who were still monitoring the vote count at the ballot boxes at the time.
Following news reports that Adıgüzel, responsible for information and communication technologies, was removed from his position due to problems the CHP encountered in conveying the results on election night, he shared his letter of resignation on social media on Monday.
“Due to the negative public perception that has arisen, despite our systems functioning properly and no technical issues occurring on election night, I am stepping down from the position I’ve held since 2018 to avoid causing any harm to the election [prospects] of our chairman, Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu,” Adıgüzel said in the letter.
Kamuoyunda oluşan olumsuz kanaat nedeniyle, seçim akşamı sistemlerimiz çalışmasına ve hiçbir teknik aksaklık yaşanmamasına rağmen, Genel Başkanımız Sayın Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’nun seçim sürecine zarar vermemek adına 2018 yılından bu yana sürdürdüğüm görevimden ayrılıyorum. pic.twitter.com/GebfWAfgmi
— Onursal Adıgüzel (@onursaladiguzel) May 15, 2023