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Turkey’s undecided voters could sway Erdogan's fateful elections

While sights are largely set on Turkey’s presidential elections, pollsters and pundits warn that the results of parliamentary elections may sway the whole race in the event of a run-off for president.
Supporters wave Turkish national flags as they attend a rally of Turkey's Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman and Presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu in Canakkale, western Turkey, on April 11, 2023.

ANKARA — With less than four weeks to go to Turkey’s critical elections, up to 15% of voters remain undecided and unsettled, and their last-minute decisions will likely sway the outcome of the tightly contested race, pollsters say.  

Undecided voters, particularly young people who will vote for the first time, are increasingly finding themselves the center of attention of the campaign ahead of the May 14 elections. Pollsters say the parties need to secure the support of undecided voters in the parliamentary elections, while voters who are decided but disgruntled with their candidates will be the kingmakers of the presidential poll. 

For the four-candidate presidential race with two top contenders — incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu — pollsters say the majority of voters have made up their minds, but a significant percentage is not completely sure. 

Ulas Tol, director of research at the Istanbul-based Social Impact Research Center, told Al-Monitor that the uncertainty is what makes this vote different from the former elections over the past decade. 

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