Turkey goes to the polls in crucial election

In the June 24 elections 56.39 million Turkish citizens are voting in total – 53.34 million in Turkey and 3.05 million abroad

In the June 24 elections 56.39 million Turkish citizens are voting in total – 53.34 million in Turkey and 3.05 million abroad

Unofficial results from Turkey's presidential election show incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a commanding lead.

Erdogan, who has led Turkey for the past 15 years, bagged 52.5% of the vote, while the runner-up in the contest, Muharrem Ince, received 30.8% and the only female candidate, Meral Aksener, 7.4%, global media reported.

The head of Turkey's High Electoral Board (YSK) said that Tayyip Erdogan has won more than half the votes in Sunday's presidential election after 97.2 percent of votes have been counted.

The opposition, however, is contesting the results of Sunday's twin elections, the first time Turkey held simultaneous presidential and parliamentary polls.

Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for 15 years, first as prime minister and since 2014 as president, praised the executive presidency that comes into force after the election.

If the HDP manages to get into parliament, it could threaten Erdogan's AKP majority, meaning it will need support from another party to approve legislation.

In the opposition camp, the CHP had 22 percent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) 10.3 percent, crucially above the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The two parties are predicted to claim 293 and 49 seats in the 600-member parliament respectively, with nearly all of the ballot boxes opened, according to the Anadolu Agency.

A state of emergency imposed after the coup remains in place.

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Erdogan also declared victory in the parliamentary election saying that the alliance led by the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had won the majority in parliament.

In a tweet earlier in the evening, he said only 37 percent of ballot boxes had actually been counted, as opposed to the more than almost 90 percent Anadolu was reporting at the time. He said turnout appeared to be high and that "no serious incidents" had occurred.

"Necessary administrative and legal steps have been taken regarding claims on security issues at some polling stations in Suruc", election body chief Sadi Guven said.

In uncharacteristically conciliatory remarks, Erdogan said Turkey had taught the world "a lesson in democracy".

On the eve of the elections, hundreds of thousands of people packed the Maltepe shore on the Asian side of Istanbul for Ince's final speech, which followed massive rallies in Izmir, Ankara, and elsewhere. But he also faces an energized opposition that has united largely around secular candidate, Muharrem Ince, 54, a former physics teacher whose rallies have drawn millions across the country.

There are already signs of defections, Sencar said, noting that some of them had voted against Erdogan in last year's referendum to expand the powers of the presidency, which passed only narrowly.

Erdogan's supporters said only he could ensure political and economic stability in Turkey.

The state-run Turkish news agency Anadolu reported Sunday that around 10 Europeans faced legal action including three French citizens, three Germans and four Italians allegedly for acting as election observers without accreditation in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

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