Turkey: Opposition Making Gains In Opinion Polls Ahead Of Elections


By Menekse Tokyay

New opinion polls show the opposition candidate leading the presidential race in Turkiye, with the opposing bloc — Nation Alliance — having a probable majority in the parliament after the elections.

A new survey by Aksoy Research showed that the presidential candidate of the Turkish opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has surpassed rival, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, by more than 10 percentage points ahead of the May 14 elections.

The poll suggests Kilicdaroglu would defeat Erdogan by receiving 55.6 percent of the votes.

The same survey showed the opposition bloc at least six points ahead of the ruling coalition, at 44.1 percent of the votes, while the voting share of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, which remains outside of the two blocs, has stayed above 10 percent, the threshold to enter parliament.

Piar Research shows Kilicdaroglu winning 57.1 percent of the vote as opposed to Erdogan’s 42.9, with the main opposition bloc on 46.4 percent of the votes against the ruling bloc’s 37.8.

Another poll, which was conducted by Alf Research, showed Kilicdaroglu on 55.1 percent and Erdogan at 44.9 percent.

The same survey revealed the main opposition bloc garnering 43.5 percent of votes, and the HDP receiving 11.3 percent. These rates are more or less supported by ORC’s recent research which showed Kilicdaroglu ahead with 56.8 against Erdogan (43.2 percent).

The mismanagement of the earthquakes in February and the rising inflation rates have harmed the chances of the ruling government and Erdogan.

The endorsement of the HDP is seen as crucial in the election with its 10 percent share of the vote, and Kilicdaroglu has announced he will meet with the party soon.

The former co-leader of the party, Selahattin Demirtas, has openly invited the opposition candidate to visit the pro-Kurdish party.

“I will meet the valuable co-chairs of the HDP. My friends are planning the visit,” Kilicdaroglu said during an interview with the T24 website on Monday.

However, there are concerns over the future of the HDP as a recent ruling by the court may result in the party being shut down over its alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Dr. Kaya Genc, a historian and author of several books on Turkish affairs, told Arab News: “[Kemal Kilicdaroglu] is no romantic rebel. He’s a savvy operator, and has convinced the pious that he’s their candidate too, and that he’s the leader of the oppressed in Turkiye.

“His efforts have so far paid off. His partner in the alliance, Meral Aksener, alongside right-wing-leaning mayors, will convince voters who believe in the concept of a powerful state, to support Kilicdaroglu as well.

“The opposition alliance has the momentum now and I expect its lead in the polls to grow exponentially in the next few weeks.”

Meanwhile, Turkish Workers’ Party chair Erkan Bas said on Sunday that if his voters supported Kilicdaroglu in the first round, his chances to win would be vastly increased.

Kilicdaroglu last week paid another visit to the earthquake-hit zone and slept in a tent, in what was construed as a move to show his empathy with victims of the disaster.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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