Turkey's snap election yields surprises on all sides - what next?

26 June 2018, 03:03 | Andres Norman

GETTYFans out in support of President Erdogan

GETTYFans out in support of President Erdogan

Supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) celebrate the results of the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections, on June 24, 2018 in the mainly-Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday on his presidential election win and expressed Germany's readiness to further improve ties with Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a commanding lead in his bid Sunday (this morning NZT) for a presidency with broadly expanded powers, according to partial results reported by the country's state-run news agency that showed him with more than 50 per cent of the vote - enough to avoid a runoff.

Turkey's national electoral board has declared Erdogan the victor of the country's presidential election with an absolute majority of valid votes.

State news agency Anadolu put Erdogan at 52.5 percent and his closest rival, Muharrem Ince, at 30.6 percent.

The most unfortunate result of this election may be the marginalization of almost half of Turkey's voters, who oppose Erdoğan's political agenda.

After casting his ballot in his jail in the northwestern region of Edirne, Demirtas wrote on Twitter: "I wish that everyone uses their vote for the sake of the future and democracy of the country".

Haniyeh phoned Erdogan Sunday evening, according to a statement posted on the terror group's official website.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg congratulated Erdogan but stressed the alliance, of which Turkey is a member, "is based on some core values: democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty".

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, was edging past the 10 per cent threshold to enter parliament, with 10.7 per cent.

Although Erdogan dominated airtime on a pliant mainstream media, Ince finished his campaign with eye-catching mass rallies, including a mega meeting in Istanbul on Saturday attended by hundreds of thousands. "We will fight even more with the strength you provided us with this election", Erdogan said in his victory speech in the capital, Ankara.

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Demirtas, who won 8.4 per cent in the presidential race, has been in pre-trial detention since November 2016 on terror-related charges.

The Venice Commission, which provides legal advice to the Council of Europe, warned about the changes in a report, saying they would "lead to an excessive concentration of executive power in the hands of the president and the weakening of parliamentary control of that power".

Erdogan, whose victory was wider than predicted by many analysts, immediately vowed to "rapidly" implement the new presidential system agreed in an April 2017 referendum that opponents fear will give him autocratic powers.

Meanwhile, the People's Alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) won the parliamentary election with 53.7 percent as the Nation Alliance - the CHP, the Good Party (IP) and the Felicity Party (SP) - managed to secure only 34 percent.

Up to half a million election monitors were deployed to polling stations by opposition parties and NGOs concerned about fraud allegations in the vote.

Erdogan said there had been no serious voting violations.

But the opposition has lambasted the uneven nature of the poll, which saw state-controlled television ignore Ince's giant rally in Istanbul on the eve of the election.

Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, noted on Monday it is now up to Erdogan to decide whether Turkey's relations with the European Union will improve.

Erdogan has been a strong supporter of Hamas.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since a failed coup in July 2016, with 107,000 public servants and soldiers dismissed from their jobs.



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