Just three days before the presidential and legislative elections in Turkey, one of the three candidates running against Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced his withdrawal. This is Muharrem Ince, who has been accused for several weeks of diminishing the opposition’s chances and dispersing their votes. Although this appears to be bad news for Erdogan, it is good news for his main rival, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, who leads a broad alliance of opposition parties. Muharrem Ince is a dissident in this alliance, and his supporters are likely to switch to Mr. Kiliçdaroglu.
It should be noted that Ince has not called for a vote for Kiliçdaroglu, and in his withdrawal announcement, he mentioned smear campaigns against him and video montages wrongly accusing him of adultery. Moreover, he not only does not give voting instructions but explains that, with his withdrawal, when the opposition loses the elections, they will not be able to use him as a pretext.
The question that arises now is whether Ince’s supporters will change their vote for Kiliçdaroglu in Sunday’s elections. According to a poll by the Konda Institute, one of the most reputable ones, Kiliçdaroglu leads the polls with 49.3% of the vote, compared to Erdogan’s 43.7%. Muharrem Ince got only 2.2% of the vote in the latest poll, while the ultra-nationalist Sinan Ogan got just under 5%.
In short, Ince’s withdrawal from the electoral race increases the chances of the opposition winning the elections in Turkey, but it remains to be seen whether his supporters will change their vote for Kiliçdaroglu at the last minute.
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