President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday called on Turkish voters to support him in a May 28 election runoff to maintain stability in Turkey as he seeks to extend his rule into a third decade, Reuters reported.
Erdoğan got 49.5 percent in Sunday’s vote and fell just short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff in a vote seen as a referendum on his autocratic rule. His main challenger, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the candidate of a six-party opposition alliance, received 45 percent.
Turkish financial assets weakened for a second day, especially government and corporate bonds and banking stocks, as investors bet that Erdoğan, 69, would win another five-year term and continue his unorthodox economic policies.
In a parliamentary election also held on Sunday, the Public Alliance, comprising Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its nationalist and Islamist partners, won 322 of 600 seats in the new legislature, achieving a majority that enabled him to argue that voting for him will ensure stability.
Erdoğan said Turkey needs harmony between parliament and the presidency for a functional governance.
“The strong presence of the Public Alliance in parliament also makes us stronger as a government. The harmony between the executive and the legislature will help development of our country,” he said in an interview broadcast by CNN Türk.
A breakdown of the voting tallies showed the AKP came out on top even in 10 of the 11 provinces hit by February’s devastating earthquakes in southeast Turkey, in which more than 50,000 people were killed and millions left homeless.
Analysts said this outcome showed Erdoğan’s promise to rebuild shattered cities had reassured voters in what were already mostly AKP strongholds.
For his part, Erdoğan’s challenger Kılıçdaroğlu sought to put a positive spin on the outcome.
“A message of change emerged from the ballot box. Those who want change in this country are now more than those that don’t,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to Erdoğan falling short of 50 percent, in a series of tweets addressed to “dear young people.”
Opinion polls had shown Erdoğan trailing Kılıçdaroğlu, but Sunday’s outcome suggested he and his Islamist-rooted AKP was able to rally conservative voters despite Turkey’s economic woes.