Erdogan takes big lead in Turkey presidential vote, results show

24 June, 2018, 22:14 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionTurkey's economy is the biggest election issue This is the story of farmer Metin Celik

With all eyes on the transparency of the vote, polling stations opened at 0500 GMT and were due to close at 1400 GMT, with the first results expected late in the evening. The victor will assume vast new presidential powers.

Unofficial results from Turkey's presidential election show incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a commanding lead. He attacked his opposition for lacking vision, and boasted of his achievements in office - such as new infrastructure and improved healthcare.

Earlier on Sunday, a crowd of Erdogan's supporters chanted his name as he emerged from a school after voting in Turkey's largest city Istanbul, shaking hands with people amid tight security.

Public broadcaster Turkish Radio Television (TRT) said voter turnout on Sunday was high at around 87 percent in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Al Jazeera's Sinem Koseoglu takes a look at the frontrunners.

Turkey was awash in campaign promises on Saturday as politicians pressed to get voters' attention in the last remaining hours before a ban begins ahead of Sunday's critical presidential and parliamentary elections.

Eight political parties are competing in the Turkish parliamentary elections.

It has condemned what it calls Mr Erdogan's "one-man rule". The CHP had 14.82 per cent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 7.07 per cent.

After the voting ends, ballots cast for the presidential candidates will be counted first.

"Necessary administrative and legal steps have been taken regarding claims on security issues at some polling stations in Suruc", election body chief Sadi Guven said.

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But both these goals are in doubt in the face of an energetic campaign by his rival from the secular Republican People's Party (CHP), Muharrem Ince, who has mobilized hundreds of thousands in mega rallies, and a strong opposition alliance in the legislative polls.

This is a particularly important and tense part, especially after claims following the 2017 referendum on consolidating all executive powers in the presidency, which was won by the campaign led by President Tayyip Erdoğan with a rather narrow difference: 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent.

He said told his followers: "If Erdogan wins, your phones will continue to be listened to, fear will continue to reign".

Almost 60 million Turks, including more than 3 million expatriates, are eligible to vote in the elections for the presidency and for 600 parliamentary seats.

Erdogan and AKP supporters have dismissed allegations they will tamper with the election results, highlighting that those claims contradicted the opposition's insistence that the AKP will lose its majority.

"At each election, I come with hope".

"Our country needs fresh blood like Muharrem Ince, that is why I am here", said Nuray Ugurlu, 54, who said she was attending a political rally for the first time because of concern over the rapidly rising cost of living.

With the polls officially closed, electoral committees across the country's 81 provinces have started counting the ballots.

At least 56,322,632 registered voters were eligible to decide on presidential and parliamentary candidates at 180,065 ballot boxes across the country. This state restricts some freedoms and allows the government to bypass parliament with decrees.

Another person who could siphon of votes from Erdogan is the only female candidate, Meral Aksener of the lyi, the Good Party.

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