Turkey's Erdogan wins presidential poll -election board chairman

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in first place with 52 percent, as nearly three fourths of eligible voters turn out to choose Turkey's first directly elected president

Turkey's Erdogan wins presidential poll -election board chairman

World Bulletin/News Desk

Tayyip Erdogan won Turkey's first presidential election on Sunday after securing a majority of the votes, the High Election Board (YSK) said, citing provisional figures.

"The provisional results show that Erdogan has the majority of the valid votes," YSK chairman Sadi Guven told a news conference.

"Tomorrow I will provide the numbers. We have received more than 99 percent (of the votes). Tomorrow we will announce the provisional results."

Erdogan won Turkey's first popular presidential election on Sunday with just over 52 percent of the vote, Mustafa Sentop, deputy chairman of the ruling AK Party, said.

With nearly 95 percent of the votes counted, Erdogan leads with 53 percent as Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, former Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, has gained more than 37 percent. Selahattin Demirtas, the head of the leftist pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, is in third place with just over 9 percent.

Erdogan has become Turkey's first popularly-elected head of state after winning a presidential election, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag also announced on his Twitter account.

"The chairman of the AK Party and the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has become the first president elected by the people," Bozdag wrote. His office confirmed the message was published on his official account.

Erdogan said the Turkish people had "shown their will" in a presidential election, but stopped short of formally declaring victory, saying he would make a full statement later.

"I hope the final whistle will be blown by the referee, but the stands have made their decision. The people have shown their will," Erdogan told crowds of supporters at a convention centre in Istanbul, from where he will fly to the capital Ankara.

"The moment the results reach 100 percent we will call out from our balcony at our (party) headquarters," he said.

The main opposition candidate Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said "I congratulate Mr Prime Minister and wish him success," in a brief statement to reporters in Istanbul.

The presidential election, sandwiched between the local polls back in March and the upcoming general elections in June 2015, is the first ever to be decided by popular vote.

Such a result would rule out a runoff round and seal Erdogan's place in history as Turkey's first directly elected head of state.

Turkey has emerged as a regional economic force under Erdogan. He has been prime minister since 2003 and is barred from standing for that office again.

It is widely seen as a referendum on the leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan, standing for the ruling Justice and Development Party.

The main opposition candidate, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, was on 38.8 percent with 90 percent of votes counted while Selahattin Demirtas of the pro-Kurdish, left-wing People's Democratic Party was on 9.2 percent, said television stations.

Turkey's electoral authorities are not officially due to announce their first results until Monday, with final figures due later in the week, but Erdogan, 60, is expected to make a victory address later on.

The voting turnout, which exceeded 89 percent in March local elections, appeared to be low, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly observer George Tsereteli told reporters.

Opinion polls had put Erdogan, 60, far ahead of two rivals competing for a five-year term as president. Parliament has in the past chosen the head of state but this was changed under a law pushed through by Erdogan's government.

He has set his sights on serving two presidential terms, keeping him in power past 2023, the 100th anniversary of the secular republic. For a leader who refers frequently to Ottoman history in his speeches, the date has special significance.

A rapturous crowd cheered and chanted "Turkey is proud of you" and "President Erdogan" as he emerged from a school where he voted with his wife and children on the Asian side of Istanbul. He waved and shook people's hands.

"The (voters') decision will be crucial as an elected president and government will hand-in-hand carry our Turkey decisively towards 2023," he told reporters.

In his final campaign speech in the conservative stronghold of Konya on Saturday, he said the election would herald a "new Turkey" and "a strong Turkey is rising again from the ashes".

"Let's leave the old Turkey behind. The politics of polarisation, divisiveness and fear has passed its expiry date," he told a crowd of thousands.

"NEW ERA"

The prime minister has promised to exercise the full powers granted to him by current laws, unlike his predecessors who have played a mainly ceremonial role. But he also plans to change the constitution to establish a fully executive presidency.

The current constitution, written under military rule after a 1980 coup, would enable him to chair cabinet meetings and appoint the premier and members of top judicial bodies including the constitutional court and supreme council of judges.

Ihsanoglu voted in a wealthy district of Istanbul near the Bosphorus strait while Demirtas cast his vote in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the mainly Kurdish southeast. Erdogan was set to vote in Istanbul in the afternoon.

Erdogan's ruling AK Party scored a clear victory in local elections in March and a triumph on Sunday would emphatically put an end to the toughest year of his time in power.

With 53 million registered to vote, the turnout appeared to be low, according to an OSCE Parliamentary Observer.

FOR THE ELECTION RESULTS, CLICK HERE

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ağustos 2014, 22:36

Muhammed Öylek

YORUM EKLE