In a significant development in the Turkish presidential elections, ultranationalist candidate Sinan Ogan, who finished third in the first round, has announced his support for incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the second round. Ogan, who secured 5.17% of the votes in the first round, believes that the second-placed Kemal Kilicdaroglu failed to offer a convincing alternative to the incumbent. The runoff vote is scheduled for May 28.

The ultranationalist and Islamist far-right have already emerged as the big winners of the elections, regardless of the outcome of the second round. Both Erdogan’s government and the opposition have normalized the rhetoric of these groups, thereby increasing their influence.

Erdogan’s popularity remains high during these times of crisis, as evidenced by the elections held in the city of Kahramanmaras, where 72% of the city voted for him, which is 10 percentage points higher than in 2018.

The Ministry of Education has announced a one-day break from education on May 29 due to the second round of the presidential election.

According to The New York Times, Ogan’s endorsement gives Erdogan’s campaign a significant boost as he takes on the main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.