Ankara, June 25 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the majority of votes in Sunday’s crucial election, surviving the most serious challenge yet to his political dominance and tightening his grip on the nation he has ruled for 15 years.
Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) on early Monday announced that Erdogan “received the absolute majority of all valid votes” with 97.7 per cent of ballot boxes opened, reports Anadolu News Agency.
“The number of votes that have not been counted yet is not enough to affect the outcome,” YSK head Sadi Guven said.
Erdogan had won a 52.54 per cent share of the national vote, while the opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) candidate, Muharrem Ince, gained 30.68 per cent.
The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party was also leading in parliamentary elections, with 42.4 per cent of the votes counted, Guven added.
Polling for the presidential and parliamentary elections took place on Sunday.
Eight political parties were contesting for the parliamentary polls while six candidates including Erdogan were in the fray for the presidential election.
Voter turnout was high at almost 87 per cent, according to election officials.
The opposition has cried foul, claiming that state media and the election commission had manipulated the results with Ince yet to concede defeat. He is slated to speak at his party headquarters on Monday afternoon.
Erdogan in his victory speech early Monday said “the winner of this election is democracy, the will of the people, each one of our 81 million citizens”, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
“We have also taken our lessons from these results. We will stand before our nation by fixing our shortcomings. We will keep our promises.
“I would like to congratulate our nation once again. This has been another test of democracy and we have passed this test successfully,” the 64-year-old leader asserted.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also addressed his supporters in Ankara.
“It is a festival day today. It is Turkey’s day. It is a day that 81 million people won and there is no loser.”
Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics since 2003, will gain sweeping new powers following his victory since the role of Prime Minister is dissolved and the President gains the authority to issue laws by decree, reports CNN.
He narrowly won a referendum last year to transform the country’s parliamentary system to a powerful executive presidency.
Erdogan was prime minister for 11 years before becoming president in 2014, the BBC reported.
Under the new constitution, he could stand for a third term when his second finishes in 2023, meaning he could potentially hold power until 2028.