Pres. Erdogan facing tough challenge in upcoming election

25 Juin, 2018, 20:57 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Pres. Erdogan facing tough challenge in upcoming election

Democracy is the victor of Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said early on June 25.

The stakes in this election are particularly high as the new president is the first to enjoy enhanced powers under a new constitution agreed in an April 2017 referendum strongly backed by Erdogan.

Erdogan won 52.5 percent in the presidential poll while Ince, of the secular Republican People's Party (CHP), was on 31.5 percent, state-run Anadolu news agency said, based on a 99 percent vote count.

Meanwhile, Muharrem İnce has 30.8 percent of the votes, Meral Aksener 8.2 percent, and Selahattin Demirtaş 8.2 percent. He has called the charges trumped-up and politically motivated.

If the pro-Kurdish party exceeds the 10 percent threshold of votes needed to enter parliament, it will be harder for the AKP to achieve a majority.

In separate parliamentary elections, the governing alliance led by Mr Erdogan's AK Party (AKP) secured a majority, with 53% and about 343 seats.

Voting is already on process and will end at 5 pm today (1400 GMT). He asked all Turks to be vigilant at polls and not be "demoralized" by what he called the possible manipulation of news. Critics say it will further erode democracy in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member state and entrench one-man rule. He remains popular in the conservative and pious heartland, having empowered previously disenfranchised groups.

Critics of President Tayyip Erdogan say he has used the failed putsch as a pretext to quash dissent.

But critics say he became increasingly autocratic and intolerant of dissent. The election campaign was heavily skewed in his favor, with opposition candidates struggling to get their speeches aired on television.

Erdogan responds to such criticism by saying he is trying to modernise Turkey and improve religious freedoms.

Ankara has been lacking a viable dialogue with the Syrian government for the last six years despite that the diplomatic efforts could promote security at the Turkish borders with Syria, the politician cited as an example.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters Erdogan thanked voters who "gave me executive power and gave us [the People's Alliance] legislative power in the elections".

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"Ince's wit, audacity, ability to poke holes through Erdogan's narrative and connect with Turks beyond the traditional base of his secularist CHP has flustered Erdogan and his team", said Anthony Skinner, head of MENA at Verisk Maplecroft.

Mr Erdogan was prime minister for 11 years before becoming president in 2014.

Turkey has been a main supporter of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

More than 59 million Turkish citizens, including 3 million expatriates, were eligible to vote.

The election commission is expected to announce official results later Monday (AEST).

When a ceasefire with Kurdish militants collapsed in 2015 he quickly revived Turkey's long war with the Kurdish Workers' Party, wining over nationalists to recover control in Parliament after a rare loss.

Erdoğan pointed out the benefits of forming alliances in the elections.

"Turkey is staging a democratic revolution", he told reporters in the polling station. The news agency said they were later charged with "insulting state elders".

But Ince said the results carried on Anadolu were not a true reflection of the official vote count by the country's electoral board.

A woman casts her ballot at a school in Istanbul.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Mr Erdogan on his win, sending a congratulatory telegram.

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