Erdogan, ruling AK Party take early lead in Turkish elections

A supporter of Muharrem Ince Presidential candidate of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party holds a banner reading

They have said election law changes and fraud allegations in the 2017 referendum raise fears about the vote's fairness.

Putin told Erdogan that the results of the election were a testament to his political authority and the broad support for his leadership. Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its right-wing ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), also won a majority in parliament in the polls Sunday. As of Monday morning he had not conceded the election and urged election observers not to leave ballot boxes. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters gathered in front of the AKP headquarters in Ankara, Turkey June 25, 2018. Other members of his party, HDP, also have been arrested or removed from government positions.

According to Bosnia's tripartite presidency, Bosniak leader Bakir Izetbegovic telephoned Erdogan to congratulate the Turkish president on his success in the elections.

Unofficial results from Turkey's presidential election show incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a commanding lead.

The Turkish strongman won approval for his overhaul of Turkey's system of governance by a slim majority in a constitutional referendum past year. "We have now fully adopted a regime of one-man rule", Ince told a news conference.

Mr Erdogan's main challenger was 54-year-old former physics teacher Muharrem Ince, who was backed by the centre-left main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, and wooed crowds with an unexpectedly engaging election campaign.

Turkey's High Electoral Board declared Erdogan, 64, the victor of Sunday's votes, which usher in a new executive presidential system in which the prime minister's post is eliminated and executive powers are transferred to the president, who rules with only limited checks and balances.

Supporters on social media had been critical of his absence following the results spreading the hashtage #İnceNerede (Where's Ince) on Twitter.

Although having the highest number of lawmakers at the parliament, the AKP may lose the majority at the 600-seat parliament since the party has received only 293 seats, according to initial results.

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CHP party spokesman Bulent Tezcan, however, challenged the election results provided by the Anadolu Agency, saying the party would continue working through the night to monitor the counting of the votes.

The party, which has always been deeply hostile to Kurdish aspirations, even managed to come ahead of the CHP in most Kurdish-majority regions, despite the latter's active attempt to court the Kurdish vote.

In the opposition camp, the CHP had 23 per cent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 11 per cent - above the threshold it needs to reach to enter parliament.

The figures could yet change as final ballot boxes are opened. Election authorities said that a number of cases were being investigated.

The president underscored that the large turnout and the peaceful conduct of the parliamentary and presidential elections was a testimony to the strength and vibrancy of Turkey's democratic values and institutions, according to a press release issued by the Foreign Office on Sunday.

"This country has shown great resistance to an organised crime network".

The outcome of the vote is the culmination of years of Erdoğan's pursuit of an executive presidency, a goal that has seen the Turkish leader ascend the highest echelons of power in the country while simultaneously crushing opponents, intimidating or co-opting dissident media outlets, and reprising a role as commander-in-chief protecting Turkey from external and internal enemies. Hundreds of thousands have also lost their jobs, as the government attempted to purge institutions of supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for the coup.

Erdogan won an election on Sunday that strengthens his increasingly authoritarian rule.

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