Erdoğan, Akşener neck-and-neck in PIAR poll – report

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would hold a slender lead over his political rivals in a presidential election, an opinion poll by PIAR showed, according to Cumhuriyet newspaper.

Erdoğan would win 41.9 percent of the vote in the second and deciding round of the election should the vote be held today, versus 41.1 percent for Meral Akşener, leader of the recently formed right-wing Good Party (IP), the newspaper reported. Eleven percent of voters were undecided.

In contrast, the Turkish leader would garner 43.9 percent support should he face Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, with Kılıçdaroğlu winning 40.5 percent, the poll showed.

Turkey is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in November next year. Some political observers say Erdoğan may bring the election forward, citing the popularity of a Turkish military incursion into Syria and an overheating economy, which produced growth of more than 7 percent last year. Officials of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) have said the elections will be held as scheduled.

The AKP would win 44.2 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections should it pair with the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) in an election alliance against the CHP and the main Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), and a separate alliance of the Good Party and the Felicity Party (SP), the poll showed.

AKP would garner 43.2 percent support should it partner with the MHP against an alliance of the IP and SP, with the CHP and HDP running alone, the newspaper said. The CHP would win 23.1 percent, the IP-SP grouping 21.7 percent and the HDP 11.7 percent, it said.

The poll of 5,620 people was held between March 6 and March 18, Cumhuriyet said.