Published: Mon, June 25, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Erdoğan Declares Victory in Election That Could Consolidate His Power

Erdoğan Declares Victory in Election That Could Consolidate His Power

The primary challenger to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sunday's polls conceded defeat Monday after the powerful incumbent was declared the victor by election officials overnight. But the pro-opposition BirGun took a different line: "An unfair election", it said, adding that the way results had been delivered had given rise to "doubts".

"I accept these election results", said Muharrem Ince of the Republican People's Party (CHP) who came second to Erdogan in the polls but had launched an energetic challenge in the campaign. Final results are due to be published by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) later this week but its chairman Sadi Guven declared Erdogan the victor.

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.

In a phone call, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also congratulated Erdogan on "the success of the Turkish democratic process and his victory in the presidential elections", said the official Palestinian News Agency (WAFA).

"This is a big threat", Ince said of the new system.

In the parliamentary vote, with 88 per cent of ballot boxes counted, according to Anadolu, Erdogan's People's Alliance, which includes his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and a small nationalist party, stood at 54.4 per cent, while the opposition Nation Alliance grouping together nationalists, secularists and a small Islamic-leaning party, was at 33.7 per cent. In a later tweet, Ince vowed to protect every vote "with my life". "Turkey has departed from democratic values and Turkey has broken its ties with the parliamentary system which it had".

Five candidates ran against Mr Erdogan in the presidential race.

Turkish voters had for the first time cast ballots for both president and parliament in the snap polls. The opposition unified, and Ince's election rallies drew millions across the country.

Thousands of Dutch Turks took to the streets on Sunday night to celebrate Erdogan's victory, leading to a storm of comments on social media and from right-wing politicians.

The main BIST 100 stock index jumped 2.2 percent as it opened, and against the dollar the turkish lira was trading one and a half percent up from Friday, at 4. 66.

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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. The results pegged turnout at a remarkable 87 percent.

'In Turkey people think it is ridiculous that people in the Netherlands have a vote, ' he said.

A night of triumph for Erdogan saw the man who has dominated Turkey for the last decade and a half declared victor of Sunday's presidential polls without needing a second round, leading his ruling party-led alliance to an overall majority in parliament.

Under the president, the government has presided over a far-reaching crackdown on dissidents, activists and the media, jailing journalists and opposition leaders, and shuttering independent news outlets.

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

"There's no justice, no freedom" in Turkey, 35-year-old Habib Celebi, a textile worker and HDP voter in Istanbul, said Sunday.

All we want is a fair competition.

Erdogan hastened the transition to his new role, bringing forward the vote by 17 months.

Some opposition supporters have therefore opted for a tactical vote - casting their ballot for the HDP despite favoring another party.

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