Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won tightly-contested presidential polls, the election authority said Monday, extending his 15-year grip on power as the opposition complained bitterly about the conduct of the vote count.
Turkish voters had for the first time cast ballots for both president and parliament in the snap elections, with Erdogan looking for a first-round knockout and an overall majority for his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The stakes were particularly high as the new president will be the first to enjoy enhanced powers, without even a prime minister, under a new constitution agreed in an April 2017 referendum strongly backed by Erdogan but which opponents say grants autocratic powers.
Erdogan defeated his nearest rival Muharrem Ince with an “absolute majority” of more than half the vote without needing a second round, said the chief of Turkey selection authority, Sadi Guven.
“I have been entrusted by the nation with the task and duties of the presidency,” Erdogan said in a victory address at his Istanbul residence, vowing that the new presidential system would be implemented “rapidly”.
“Turkey has given a lesson in democracy to the entire world,” he added, pointing to an 88 percent turnout.