Turkey faces runoff election with Erdogan leading

Turkey faces runoff election with Erdogan leading

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Turkey led the presidential runoff after President Tayyip Erdogan outperformed projections in Sunday’s election as he sought to extend his two-decade rule, holding a huge lead over his rival, but fell short of an absolute majority.

Neither Erdogan nor rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu cleared the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a second round scheduled for May 28, seen as a verdict on Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian path.

The presidential vote will decide not only who will lead Turkey, a NATO-member country of 85 million, but also whether it returns to a more secular, democratic path; How will it handle its severe cost of lives crisis and manage key ties with Russia, the Middle East and the West.

Kilicdaroglu, who said he would prevail in the runoff, urged his supporters to be patient and accused Erdogan’s party of interfering with vote counting and the reporting of results.

But Erdogan fared better than pre-polls predicted, and he appeared in a confident and combative mood as he waved his flag and addressed supporters.

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