Turkey's PM Erdogan Wins First Presidential Election

World | August 10, 2014, Sunday // 23:26| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Turkey's PM Erdogan Wins First Presidential Election Recep Erdogan will be the country's first directly elected head of state. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now only awaiting official confirmation that he will become the country's next president.

After almost all of the ballots cast at Sunday's first-ever presidential vote in Turkey were counted, he had 51.8% of the votes.

His main opponent, Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ex-Chair Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, is trailing behind with some 38 percent.

Ihsanoglu has admitted his defeat and wished his rival success.

Selahattin Demirtas, the third strong contender, received about 9 percent.

When confirmed, the results will make Erdogan an outright winner of the vote with no run-off needed, as he has received an absolute majority of votes.

Boosting presidential powers is among the main goals the current Prime Minister has said he will pursue if elected.

After partial results were announced, Erdogan declared that people had shown "their will at the polls".

Erdogan, who has headed Turkey's government since 2003, officially announced his bid for the presidency on July 1, after internal party restrictions prevented him from running for a third consecutive term in office.

Turnout was reported at about 74% late in the afternoon, as Hurriyet Daily News reported, citing officials.

The figure is well below usual levels in Turkey, where an average 87% have cast a ballot over the past thirty years. It was similar to the general election activity in 1977, when only 70.4% went to the polls. This means unlike previous votes, over 13 million people chose not to vote on August 10.

A few hours before he addressed the crowd as the country's first "president-elect", he vowed to "continue to serve our nation for a better democracy and to make the resolution process rein".

He later told a cheering multitude in the capital Ankara that those who didn't vote for him "also have won".

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Tags: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Selahattin Demirtas, OIC, Ankara, turkey, turnout
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