Turkey’s Erdogan wins majority in elections: electoral board

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AK Party supporters react and wave flags in front of the AKP headquarters in Ankara, Turkey June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has won more than half the votes in Sunday’s presidential election after 97.2 percent of votes have been counted, the head of Turkey’s High Electoral Board (YSK) said.

Speaking at the YSK headquarters in Ankara after presidential and parliamentary elections, Sadi Guven also said the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) had passed the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The main opposition party did not immediately concede defeat. But after initially saying Erdogan would fall well short of a first-round victory, it said it would continue its democratic struggle “whatever the result”.

“Our people have given us the job of carrying out the presidential and executive posts,” Erdogan said in a short national address as votes were still being counted.

“I hope nobody will try to cast a shadow on the results and harm democracy in order to hide their own failure,” he added, clearly aiming to pre-empt opposition complaints of foul play.

Sunday’s vote ushers in a powerful new executive presidency long sought by Erdogan and backed by a small majority of Turks in a 2017 referendum. Critics say it will further erode democracy in the NATO member state and entrench one-man rule.

Erdogan’s victory paves the way for another five-year term. Under the new constitution, he could serve a further term from 2023, taking him to 2028.

An unexpectedly strong showing by the AK Party’s alliance partner, the nationalist MHP, could translate into the stable parliamentary majority that Erdogan seeks in order to govern freely.

“This sets the stage for speeding up reforms,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek tweeted of the results.

The lira, which has lost about a fifth of its value against the dollar this year, firmed more than 1 percent in early trading in Asia on hopes of a stable working relationship between the president and parliament. It reached 4.587 lira to the dollar at 12:17 a.m. (2117 GMT) before easing slightly.

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