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Ince formally withdraws from Turkey’s presidential election

The Homeland Party's leader has submitted his retreat from the race to the electoral authority. His name remains on the ballot papers on May 14. Homeland Party leader Muharrem Ince announced his drop-out from the presidential elections yesterday (May 11), just three days before the elections.

Today, the 2018 frontrunner of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) submitted his withdrawal to Turkey's Supreme Electoral Council (YSK). His party remains electable for the parliamentary elections, which are held on the same day.

The ballot papers remain unchanged. Citizens can still vote for the 59-year-old ex-physics teacher. However, in case Ince passes the 50% threshold in the first round, which is extremely unlikely considering the polls, he will not be certificated, a YSK representative told daily Hürriyet.

There had been repeated calls by the opposition for Ince's removal from the race, as he was generally considered a threat to Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the candidate of the Nation's Alliance, chances of defeating incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sunday's elections.

Besides main contenders, Kiliçdaroglu and Erdogan, Sinan Ogan, presidential candidate of the Ancestral Alliance, is on the ballot papers on May 14.

Ogan reportedly canceled a rally in Antalya that was scheduled for tomorrow but the former politician of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) seems to be committed to continue in the race.

What the law says

Article 12 of the of Presidential Election Law No. 6271 says, "In the first round, reductions that occur in the list until 5:00 pm on the voting day, starting from the publication of the definite candidate list in the Official Gazette, do not require any changes."

The CHP's representative at the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK), Mehmet Hamdi Yakupoglu, had told bianet that the reductions mentioned refer to resignation or death.

"This is what the law says. This issue has come up for the first time, but there will be no change in the course of action. Muharrem Ince only announced his withdrawal to his own supporters. In short, Ince's withdrawal from the candidacy only leads to a political result. It does not have a legal consequence," he said.

Exceptionally tight race

Polls foresee an exceptionally tight race, with the incumbent, who has basically won every election since he was elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994, being behind in the polls.

The latest results by ORC Research, conducted on May 10-11 with 3.920 people in 28 provinces, indicate that Erdogan is 7.5 points behind CHP leader Kiliçdaroglu, who with 51.7% of the vote would pass the crucial 50% threshold.

The latest KONDA poll shows a similar difference, with Kiliçdaroglu securing 49.3% of the vote while Erdogan, would receive only 43.7%.

If no candidate gets 50% of the vote on May 14, a second round will be held on May 28

Source: English Bianet