Ankara: Turkey was heading toward a likely runoff presidential election as vote count showed neither of the candidates above the 50-per cent threshold of the votes to win outright, according to preliminary results delivered by the semi-official Anadolu Agency early Monday.
Early results of Anadolu showed incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a comfortable ahead compared to the Opposition rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu, but the gap was narrowed as more votes were counted, Xinhua news agency reported.
Erdogan received 49.67 per cent of the vote when 93 per cent of the ballots were counted, against 44.59 per cent of the vote for Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the Anadolu reported. The third candidate Sinan Ogan garnered 5.3 per cent of support.
If no presidential candidate secured a simple majority, or 50 per cent, of the votes in the first round, a second ballot would be scheduled between the top two frontrunners on May 28.
As the ballot boxes for the parliamentary election were also finishing counting, unofficial results showed that the People’s Alliance, formed by Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the New Welfare Party and the Great Union Party, had 323 lawmakers, highest among three alliances that run for the 600-seat parliament.
The six-party opposition block Nation Alliance gained a total of 214 lawmakers and could not secure 360 seats required to hold a referendum for ending the current executive presidency that they pledged in their election campaign.
The Labor and Freedom Alliance, a coalition of left-wing political parties, had 63 lawmakers, with the Green Left Party gaining 60 seats and the Workers’ Party of Turkey three lawmakers.
Nearly 61 million voters are registered to cast their ballots. Around 3.5 million voters living abroad have been called to cast their votes in advance. The voter turnout was high at nearly 80 per cent.