Opposition candidates in Turkey fear vote fraud

Jun 26, 2018, 04:17
Opposition candidates in Turkey fear vote fraud

Under constitutional amendments approved after a controversial 2017 referendum, Turkey is making a transition from a parliamentary system to a presidential one - giving the next president expanded powers, abolishing the prime minister's post, and eliminating numerous checks and balances created to help parliament protect against the misuse of presidential powers.The changes will take effect after the elections.

Supporters of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gather in front of the Huber Presidential Palace where he delivered a victory speech. Many political experts believe Inje is capable of dragging the race into a run-off.

The vote also ushers in a powerful new executive presidency long sought by Erdogan and backed by a small majority of Turks in a 2017 referendum.

Erdogan called the snap elections, bringing forward a vote that was expected to be held in November 2019.

Nearly half the country voted against the new presidential powers Erdogan will now assume.

Erdogan's closest contender, Muharrem Ince of the main opposition Republican People's Party, won 30.7 percent.

CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said on Sunday they "received some information that there are some attempts of election fraud".

Still, Turkey's main opposition said it was too early to call a victory for Erdogan, as votes from the largest cities were still not counted, adding that the contest would go to a second round.

Tezcan cited results he said came from the Supreme Election Council, which showed only 39 percent of ballots had been counted, and that Erdoğan had won 51.7 percent of the vote thus far.

Mr Erdogan has presided over a strong economy and built up a solid support base by investing in healthcare, education and infrastructure.

Erdogan's AKP fell short of a parliamentary majority but a better-than-expected performance by its nationalist ally should allow the party to control the 600-seat legislature.

Stay with us throughout Sunday for all of the latest from Turkey's elections, for which Recep Tayyip Erdogan needs more than 50 per cent of the presidential vote to secure re-election outright.

Voting has officially ended in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections with preliminary results showing the country's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party ahead of other contestants. It won 23 percent in the new parliament and the pro-Kurdish HDP almost 12 percent, above the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

"The presidency requires experience", said the man who has led Turkey since 2003 as prime minister and since 2014 as the country's first directly elected president.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, accompanied by his wife Semiha, greets AK Party supporters gathered in front of the AKP headquarters in Ankara, Turkey.

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

The vote will be closely watched by the European Union - which Erdogan says he still wants Turkey to join despite the accession process grinding to a halt - and the United States which has seen no improvement in ties with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally under Donald Trump.