Turkey's victorious Erdogan set to assume sweeping powers

Turkey's victorious Erdogan set to assume sweeping powers

Turkey's victorious Erdogan set to assume sweeping powers

More than 56.3 million Turkish citizens are eligible to cast their ballots in the polls, which are being held a year and a half ahead of schedule.

Supporters of Turkey's President and ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrate outside the party headquarters in Istanbul, June 24, 2018.

Mr Ince, from the Republican People's Party (CHP), said the election was unfair from its declaration to the announcement of the results.

Turkey's High Electoral Board declared Erdogan, 64, the victor of Sunday's polls, which usher in a new executive presidential system that was approved in a referendum past year.

Polls will close at 14:00 GMT, with preliminary results expected at 17:00 GMT.

Guven said that based on unofficial results, five parties passed the threshold of 10 percent of votes required for parties to enter parliament. "With this system, we will achieve what others can not imagine", he told tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in Istanbul's Esenyurt district, the first of five planned for Saturday.

The elections were scheduled as politically-divided Turkey was facing a growing economic and social crisis, a widening rift with the West, the ongoing migrant crisis and continuing involvement in military operations in Syria and Iraq.

His supporters say only Erdogan can guarantee Turkey's economic and political stability in hard times.

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With almost 80 percent of the country's ballot boxes counted, Erdogan was at 54.3 percent of the vote, with his main rival Muharrem Ince at 29.9 percent, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Sunday's elections are putting into force a stronger presidential system, allowing the president to form the government, appoint ministers, vice presidents and top bureaucrats, issue decrees, prepare the budget and impose states of emergency.

The paper also alleges that on election day, "there were reported cases of fraud, including ballot stuffing, [such as] an incident where a vehicle filled with ballots was pulled over heading to a polling station near the southern city of Urfa". "With the presidential system, Turkey is seriously raising the bar, rising above the level of contemporary civilizations".

National Alliance parliamentary candidates vowed that if they secure majority control of the legislature, they will try to roll back the Erdogan-backed constitutional amendments narrowly approved in the controversial 2017 referendum. "Fear will continue to reign", he told at least a million people gathered in Istanbul.

Luxembourg's foreign minister said Mr Erdogan is now "all-powerful" and it will be up to him whether Turkey's relations with the European Union improve.

CHP spokesman Bulent Tezcan told a news conference it had reported to the High Election Board (YSK) allegations of block votes being cast and of election monitors being beaten and kept out of polling stations in the southeast's Sanliurfa province.

Erdogan said in April when announcing the decision to hold early polls that they were necessary to "overcome uncertainty" in the country.

Parliament has been weakened and the post of prime minister abolished, as measures approved in a controversial referendum a year ago take effect. "Turkey is experiencing a democratic revolution with this election", he added.

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