Vastavam web: Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party took a comfortable lead in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, according to preliminary partial results, boosting the president’s hopes of extending his 15-year rule. The initial results had been expected to give Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted party a strong lead and it was expected to shorten as more votes are tallied across the nation of 81 million people. 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.
With 70 percent of votes counted in the presidential race, Erdogan had 55 percent, ahead of his closest rival, Muharrem Ince, of the main opposition, secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), on 29 percent, broadcasters said. In the parliamentary contest, the AK Party had 45 percent and its MHP ally nearly 12 percent, based on 61 percent of votes counted, broadcasters said. The CHP had 21 percent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party 9.7 percent. Both the AK Party official and an HDP lawmaker said they expected the HDP to exceed the 10 percent threshold to enter parliament.