Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Erdogan wins Turkey presidential polls

A voter enters a booth at a polling station during presidential and parliamentary elections in Ankara Turkey A voter enters a booth at a polling station during presidential and parliamentary elections in Ankara Turkey
Kelvin Reese | 26 June, 2018, 11:10

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday (Jun 25) celebrated winning sweeping new powers in a decisive election victory, as his main rival accepted the outcome despite complaints over an unequal campaign that alarmed the EU.

Parliament has been weakened and the post of prime minister abolished, as measures approved in a controversial referendum previous year take effect.

Halk TV, a Turkish nationwide TV channel, spoke to the opposition CHP's candidate Muharrem Ince via WhatsApp.

The president, who has already ruled Turkey unopposed for 16 years, will be sworn in to another five years in power, leading up to the centennial of the modern republic's founding from the ashes of the Ottoman empire.

Mr Ince received just 31%, despite a lively campaign attracting huge crowds.

With Erdogan's reelection, those expanded presidential powers can now take effect.

But Turkey's large current account deficit, double-digit inflation and high external borrowing costs remain the main issues for the new cabinet. Part of Erdogan's continued appeal to Turks is his patriarchal and security-focused message, and the government will now be sure to ramp up its battle against Kurdish militancy (and other types of extremism) in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

The constitutional changes were endorsed in a tight referendum a year ago by 51% of voters. After the results were announced, thousands of Erdoğan supporters took to the streets and celebrated in nearly every corner of the country, while major provinces such as the capital Ankara and Turkey's culture and commercial capital Istanbul witnessed historic moments.

Mr Erdogan maintains his increased authority will empower him to address Turkey's economic woes and defeat Kurdish rebels in the country's south-east.

Several world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, President of Bosnian presidency Bakir Izetbegovic, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain.

Under the new system - which is not due to take affect until after elections in June - Erdoğan will be able to stand in two more election cycles, meaning he could govern as a powerful head of state until 2029.

Tapping in to nationalist fears of outside influences in Turkey after a failed coup in 2016, Erdogan painted his political opponents as traitors to democracy.

England thrash Panama to qualify for knockout stages
That previous high-scoring affair turned out well, too, with England beating Germany 4-2 to win its only World Cup title. England face Belgium in their final group game on Thursday to decide who will be finishing first and second in Group H.

Unconvincing France beat Peru 1-0 to book last-16 place
Later in the first half, striker Paolo Guerrero outsmarted Samuel Umtiti in the penalty area but fired his shot at Lloris's legs. Peru only lost 1-0 to Denmark in their opening match last weekend and can count themselves unfortunate to lose against France.

4 talking points from Trent Bridge
Moeen was among those who got little or no chance to join in the fun as batsmen. Hales showed tremendous power but also nice placement and shot selection.

"We are living through a fascist regime", the opposition MP Selin Sayek Boke told the BBC. "So this shows that progressive values are still here and can rise up".

Analysts said Ince's emergence signalled for the first time that there could be a credible alternative to Erdogan, surpassing current CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

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

He'll now hope to lead the country at least until 2023, a hundred years since Ataturk's creation.

How did the opposition react?

The official election results will be announced on July 5, Turkey's Supreme Election Council (YSK) said yesterday. In view of the mobilization and enthusiasm of the opposition, expectations were high that the race could be forced into a second round, but Erdogan managed to pass the necessary 50 percent threshold.

How was the election conducted?

Turnout in Sunday's polls was around 87 per cent, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Rights activists have said the press is not free to report on all sides in Turkey. Instead, Mr Erdogan claimed victory in the early hours of Monday morning with 53 per cent of the vote.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been elected as the first executive president of Turkey under the new presidential system. This translates to 295 seats for the AKP in the parliament, short of the 301 needed for a majority.

The candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party Selahattin Demirtas came third on 8.4%, a position all the more remarkable given he has been jailed on charges of links to Kurdish militants since November 2016.

The biggest issue for voters was the economy.

The Turkish leader is accused by critics of adopting increasingly authoritarian tactics but is loved by supporters for bringing prosperity and stability. More than 110,000 government workers have also been dismissed under a state of emergency after the coup.

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