Turkey Elections: Ince Withdraws Last-Minute
Just days before Turkey’s Sunday elections, presidential candidate Muharrem Ince announced he was dropping out of the race in a move that many believe will benefit Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
- Just days before Turkey’s Sunday elections, presidential candidate Muharrem Ince announced he was dropping out of the race in a move that many believe will benefit Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.1
- Ince was one of the four candidates on the presidential ballot, but he was never considered a legitimate threat to win the office, with polls showing his support hovering around 2-4%. His name will still remain on the ballot since most have already been printed.2
- Ince ran for president in 2018, losing to Erdoğan as a member of Kilicdaroglu’s Republican People’s Party (CHP). After twice failing to become CHP chair, Ince formed his breakaway Homeland party in 2021.3
- His withdrawal from the razor-tight race came amid an alleged smear campaign that included a fake video of the politician having sex with an unknown woman. The Homeland Party founder was also accused of being on the “palace” payroll and running in order to siphon votes from Erdoğan’s competition.4
- Ince didn’t endorse any remaining presidential candidates, but polls indicate most of his supporters will defect to Kilicdaroglu, who is polling at 49.3% compared to Erdogan’s 43.7% in a recent Konda poll. This is important because a candidate must win 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff election.5
- If the candidates fail to receive 50% or more of the vote, the runoff election will be held on May 28th. This election is Erdoğan’s toughest election matchup, and a Kilicdaroglu victory would end his 20 years of rule.6
Sources: 1CNN, 2Middle East Eye, 3Guardian, 4Al Jazeera, 5NBC, and 6POLITICO.
- Narrative A, as provided by Turkish Minute. Ince made the right decision to withdraw from Sunday’s crucial presidential election. He knows how important this race is for the future of Turkey, and he seems to be putting grudges aside for the greater good. Ince withstood false attacks and acted with grace amid a slanderous campaign. This move will be a major boon for Kilicdaroglu in this election and for Turkey.
- Narrative B, as provided by Daily Sabah. Ince’s withdrawal from the race comes at a very peculiar time with the election just days away as he deals with multiple scandals. He wasn't a popular candidate, and people on both sides of the political aisle had negative feelings toward him. It's likely that he decided to try to save face by withdrawing his candidacy to avoid taking any votes away from Erdoğan’s opposition.