OSCE monitors: Turkey election was ‘lively’ but ‘lacked equal conditions’

26 June, 2018, 03:04 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • A million people attend an election rally of Muharrem Ince

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday won the presidential poll in the first round, said the country's election authority chief.

Speaking early Monday, Supreme Election Council head Sadi Guven said 97.7 percent of votes had been counted and declared Erdogan the victor.

However the opposition raised doubts about the accuracy and reliability of the figures released by state-run Anadolu news agency, the sole distributor of the official vote tally.

GettyTurkey election results: Who won the Turkey election? I call onto all polling clerks not to get frustrated and not to leave the ballot boxes.

The head of Turkey's electoral board, Sadi Guven, said the election had been "healthy" and results would be opened for public scrutiny in 10 days.

Erdogan, who has led Turkey for the past 15 years, bagged 52.5% of the vote, while the runner-up in the contest, Muharrem Ince, received 30.8% and the only female candidate, Meral Aksener, 7.4%, global media reported.

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The initial results had been expected to give Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted party a strong lead and it was expected to shorten as more votes are tallied across the nation of 81 million people.

In the opposition camp, the CHP had 23 per cent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 11 per cent - above the threshold it needs to reach to enter parliament.

President Hussain also expressed the hope that Turkey would continue on the path of progress and prosperity under the leadership of president Erdogan.

The presidential and parliamentary elections, held more than a year early on Sunday, complete NATO-member Turkey's transition from a parliamentary system of government to a presidential one in a process started with a referendum last year.

Erdogan's closest rival, Muharrem Ince, who complained of unfair elections, has yet to formally concede defeat. While Erdogan's opponents said they would send refugees back to their country, Erdogan did not.

Erdogan, 64, the most popular - yet divisive - leader in modern Turkish history, told jubilant, flag-waving supporters there would be no retreat from his drive to transform Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and, at least nominally, a candidate to join the European Union.

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He added that the alliance led by the AKP had won the majority in parliament.

Erdogan's victory ensures he'll stay in office for 20 years - until 2023 - and ushers in a powerful new executive presidency that eliminates the prime minister's role.

Merkel underlined the traditionally friendly relations between Berlin and Ankara and also expressed support for stability and democracy in Turkey.

The pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, whose presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas was forced to campaign from jail, received the more than 10 per cent of the vote Sunday, enough to win seats in parliament. They have said election law changes and fraud allegations in the 2017 referendum raise fears about the fairness of Sunday's elections.

"We always vote for our leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan", he said while navigating his cab through traffic.

Ince called on Erdogan to "be everyone's president, embrace everyone".

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As Turkey's democracy backslides, its European Union accession seems ever further away; however, Turkey will not want to lose European Union investment and trade and the West will not sacrifice the geostrategic importance of the country so relations, although perhaps strained, seem set to continue. It has become the world's biggest jailer of journalists under Mr Erdogan's rule, according to monitoring groups. The election timing could have been at least partly motivated by a desire to secure more power before the effects of an overheating economy, high inflation, and crumbling currency are felt by Turkish households and businesses.

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