Erdogan confirmed victor of Turkey election that brings sweeping new powers

26 June, 2018, 02:59 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Ince with his mother Zekiye at the rally

An worldwide election watchdog has criticized the conditions under which the Turkish election was fought, saying they were skewed in favor of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party.

Erdogan won a new mandate in presidential elections in the first round of voting by winning more than half of the votes, the chief of Turkey's election authority said Monday.

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

The state-run Anadolu Agency said the CHP-led alliance received 34 percent of the parliamentary vote, while Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, or AKP, lost its majority.

Erdogan's closest contender, Muharrem Ince of the secular opposition Republican People's Party, won 30.7 per cent support.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in the country's presidential election on Sunday, citing unofficial election results.

Turnout in the presidential election was nearly 88 percent, according to the figures published by Anadolu.

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Erdogan has however ruled out returning to a peace process with the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which the UK, EU and Turkey deems a terrorist organisation.

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

Critics complained about what they say were unequal campaign conditions with Erdogan dominating media coverage in a country that has been named the world's worst jailer of journalists.

Turkey's presidential and parliamentary election yesterday was probably the most unfair and unfree election in living Turkish memory. Erdogan's closest competitor, Ince, vowed that he would lift the state of emergency within 48 hours if elected president and reverse all the constitutional reforms afterward.

Erdogan, who defends his tough measures as essential for national security, told his supporters at rallies Saturday that if re-elected he would press ahead with more of the big infrastructure projects that have helped turn Turkey into one of the world's fastest-growing economies during his time in office.

The shift will give Erdogan more power in his next term, abolishing the prime minister's post, and eliminating numerous checks and balances created to help parliament protect against the misuse of presidential powers.

An executive presidential system approved by the April referendum now comes into effect.

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Turkey has been under emergency rule - which restricts some freedoms and allows the government to bypass parliament with decrees - for almost two years since an attempted coup in 2016.

The HDP passing the threshold is key for the opposition: Forecasts show that without them in parliament, the AKP and their junior coalition partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), would once again win the majority of seats.

Erdogan said there had been no serious voting violations. The E.U. Council will discuss relations with Turkey later this week, balancing the need for collective action on migration flows with concern about democratic backsliding.

The lira is down about 19 percent since January and investors fear Erdogan, a self-declared "enemy of interest rates", may pressure the central bank to cut recently raised borrowing costs to stimulate economic growth despite double-digit inflation.

Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, noted on Monday it is now up to Erdogan to decide whether Turkey's relations with the European Union will improve.

But the opposition has lambasted the uneven nature of the poll, which saw state-controlled television ignore Ince's giant rally in Istanbul on the eve of the election.

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