Erdogan declared victor in historic presidential election

26 June 2018

Erdogan declared victor in historic presidential election

Electoral officials have declared Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the victor of the country’s presidential election on Sunday (local time), a result that will give him sweeping new powers as he becomes Turkey’s first executive president.

Speaking to the press in Ankara, on Sunday (local time), Sadi Guven, the head of the Supreme Election Committee, said that with 99.2% of the ballots counted, President Erdogan secured more than half the votes required to for an outright victory.

“Our democracy has won, the people’s will has won, Turkey has won,” Mr Erdogan told a crowd of supporters in Ankara, thanking the Turkish citizens who cast their ballots in an election that saw a record turnout of 87%, according to Al Jazeera.

The President also declared that the People’s Alliance — a bloc between his ruling Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party — won the legislative elections, giving them a parliamentary majority.

Mr Erdogan’s main rival, Muharrem Ince of the Republican People’s Party, secured 30.6% of the votes, with Selahattin Demirtas of the pro-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party following at 8.4%, according to Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu.

At a press conference on Monday, Mr Ince conceded defeat but said the elections were “unjust” and warned that the executive presidential system is a dangerous “one-man rule”.

“I accept these election results,” he said, adding that the President should “represent 80 million” and be “president for us all”.

Addressing his restricted television airtime and apparent boycott by state media, Mr Ince said, “This election was unjust until the results were announced,” vowing to “continue our fight until Turkey is a Turkey for everyone”.

According to Al Jazeera, all three major parties accused the state news agency Anadolu of manipulating the results and releasing them selectively, a claim which has been dismissed by the Government.

“I hope nobody will try to cast a shadow on the results and harm democracy in order to hide their own failure,” Erdogan said in his victory speech.

Mr Erdogan has served as either prime minister or president for the past 15 years.

Over the last three years, concern over Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian direction has sparked Western criticism of the President and strained relations with Europe.