ANKARA – Turkey’s election board certified the results of the May 28 presidential runoff election on Thursday, confirming that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been a dominant force in Turkish politics for the past two decades, has won a third term as president.
Ahmet Yener, the head of the Supreme Electoral Council said Erdogan won 52.18% of the votes, while main opposition party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu garnered 47.82%.
“According to these results, it is understood that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been elected president and the results were sent to the Official Gazette for publication,” Yener announced.
He said turnout was 85.72%
Already Turkey’s longest serving leader, Erdogan, 69, can now govern until 2028.
Unconfirmed reports say he is scheduled to take the oath of office on Saturday, after which he is expected to announce the lineup of his new Cabinet.
Erdogan faces a host of domestic challenges, from a battered economy to pressure for the repatriation of millions of Syrian refugees and the need to rebuild after a devastating earthquake in February that killed 50,000 and leveled cities.
Investors will be watching closely to see if Mehmet Simsek, a respected former finance minister and deputy prime minister, is reappointed to head the economy portfolio, for signs of a return by Erdogan to more conventional economic policies.
Inflation in Turkey hit a staggering 85% in October before easing to 44% last month, according to official figures, although independent experts say the true rate is much higher. Critics blame the turmoil on Erdogan’s policy of keeping interest rates low to promote growth. Economists generally recommend raising rates to combat inflation.
The Turkish lira has lost around 10% of its value since the start of the year.