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Turkey election: Polls close as Erdogan seeks second term

24 June 2018

To achieve an outright win and avoid a second round, Erdogan needs to secure more than 50 percent of the vote.

Mr Erdogan is expected to be re-elected but might be forced into a run-off by the opposition.

Voters are flocking to polling centres today to cast ballots in an election that will complete Turkey's transition to a new executive presidential system, a move approved in a controversial referendum a year ago. Opposition candidates have vowed to return Turkey to a parliamentary democracy with strong checks and balances and have decried what they call Erdogan's "one-man rule".

As he cast his vote, Erdogan said the changes marked a "democratic revolution", although his opponents regard the most recent phase of his rule differently.

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

If the HDP exceeds the 10 percent threshold of votes needed to enter parliament, it will be harder for the AKP to get a majority. The CHP had 14.82 per cent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 7.07 per cent.

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Supporters outside the polling station chanted his name and urged the Turkish president to "Stand tall!"

He is now leading in the polls with 56 percent of the vote.

AK Party supporters clogged a main road in the capital Ankara leading to party headquarters honking horns in celebration.

Polling stations were due to close at 5pm local time (6pm UAE time), with the first results expected late in the evening.

Turnout nationwide was high at around 87 percent for both contests, the state broadcaster said.

Opposition parties and NGOs have deployed up to half a million monitors at ballot boxes to ward against possible electoral fraud. He said they are closely watching the security of the votes cast and asked all monitors not to leave their duties before the counting and recording of the votes is completed, in order to prevent fraud in the interim stages.

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Erdogan cast his vote in a poll station in Istanbul with his wife, the first lady Emine Erdogan.

Turkey's President and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks at his ballot before casting his vote at a polling station in Istanbul on June 24, 2018.

"I hope for the best for our nation", Ince said on June 24 as he voted in his native port town of Yalova, south of Istanbul. It's the first time they'll be voting for president and parliament at the same time - a change approved a year ago by a referendum that switched Turkey's governance system to an executive presidency.

Erdogan has declared himself an "enemy of interest rates", raising fears he will pressure the central bank to cut borrowing costs after the election despite double-digit inflation.

But he reckoned without Ince, a former physics teacher and veteran CHP lawmaker, whose feisty performance at campaign rallies has galvanized Turkey's long-demoralized and divided opposition. He won nearly 10 percent of the vote in the last election, and if he were to get a bigger percentage this time, the ruling coalition may lose its majority. This state restricts some freedoms and allows the government to bypass parliament with decrees.

Ince told a rally on Saturday he would lift the state of emergency within 48 hours of being elected president.

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"Turkey will reach their level of development too and will be among the top ten countries in this respect", Erdogan said.

Turkey election: Polls close as Erdogan seeks second term