Voting officially ends in Turkey’s elections with Erdogan's party ahead

Voting officially ends in Turkey’s elections with Erdogan's party ahead Voting officially ends in Turkey’s elections with Erdogan's party ahead

Voting has officially ended in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections with preliminary results showing the country's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party ahead of other contestants.

Preliminary results from Turkey's parliamentary election on Sunday put President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party at 55.2 percent of the vote, with 7.41 percent of the votes counted, Reuters reported CNN Turk and other local broadcasters as saying.

In the presidential contest also taking place on Sunday, Erdogan was at 58.9 percent, with 22.9 percent of the votes counted, the broadcasters said.

Polls across the country of 81 million people officially closed at 5 pm (1400 GMT). There are no exit polls in Turkey and initial results are expected during the early evening.

With the polls officially closed, electoral committees across the country’s 81 provinces have started counting the ballots.

Votes were cast in 180,065 polling places across the country.

Voting at Turkish customs gates with adjoining countries, which began on June 7, has also ended.

Votes by Turks living abroad who cast their ballots in 60 countries at 123 embassies and consulates will be counted at the same time in the capital Ankara.

Turkey's main opposition presidential candidate Muharrem Ince said on Sunday Turkish citizens should protect ballot boxes against possible fraud by President Erdogan's ruling AK Party.

Speaking after voting in presidential and parliamentary elections ended, Ince also said members of Turkey's electoral board must "do your job the right way". He said he had no doubt the election results would be "very good".

Erdogan called the snap elections, bringing forward a vote that was expected to be held in November 2019.

Six candidates are vying for the Turkish presidency. If a candidate wins just over 50 percent of the vote, he will win the presidency, but if not, there will be a runoff on July 8.

Erdogan won the last presidential election in 2014 after completing two terms as prime minister. 

In April 2017, 51 percent of Turkish voters endorsed constitutional changes backed by Erdogan, which grant new executive powers to the president and scrap the post of prime minister.

Supporters of the reforms argue that they will modernize the country, but opponents fear a possible authoritarian rule.

The constitutional overhaul would mean that Erdogan could stay in power for another two terms until 2029.

Erdogan's main rival, Muharrem Ince of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), has promised to reverse Turkey's possible swing towards one-man rule under Erdogan.

Eight political parties are competing in the Turkish parliamentary elections. A party must receive 10 percent of the votes for any of its candidates to win a seat at the legislature.

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