Erdogan facing major test as voting ends in Turkey elections

Erdogan facing major test as voting ends in Turkey elections

Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party took an early lead in presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, according to preliminary partial results, boosting the president's hopes of extending his 15-year rule.

Erdogan urged citizens to vote and listed the hospitals and transportation infrastructure as proof of his leadership.

. The second phase is the transparent counting and recording of the votes in each ballot box and conveying the results to the local stations without any intervention in the sealed vote bags.

His ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is hoping to retain its majority in parliament.

Voting already closed last week for Turkish citizens resident overseas, with just under 1.5 million out of just over 3 million registered voters casting their ballot, a turnout of just under 49 percent.

Ince has wooed crowds with an unexpectedly engaging campaign, drawing massive number at his rallies in Turkey's three main cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

Voting in Istanbul along with his son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan said he expected turnout to be strong, in an indication of "how mature democracy is in Turkey".

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Brussels on June 16, 2018, for the presidential and general elections, which will be held in Turkey on June 24, 2018.What happens after the vote?

This is a particularly important and tense part, especially after claims following the 2017 referendum on consolidating all executive powers in the presidency, which was won by the campaign led by President Tayyip Erdoğan with a rather narrow difference: 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent.

State-run Anadolu news agency said the six were detained after videos posted on social media reportedly showed them shouting expletives against Erdogan.

At least 56,322,632 registered voters were eligible to decide on presidential and parliamentary candidates at 180,065 ballot boxes across the country.

Experts said the key for the People's Alliance to get enough seats lies in the hand of the Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party.

High security is in place across the country, with 38,480 police officers on duty in Istanbul alone.

Turkey will also be electing 600 lawmakers to parliament on Sunday - 50 more than in the previous assembly.

With about 30 per cent of votes counted in the presidential race, Erdogan had 58 per cent, well ahead of his closest rival, Muharrem Ince, of the main opposition, secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), on 27.5 per cent, broadcasters said.

"It's urgent for Turkey to shift to the new system in order to make decisions and take concrete steps regarding our future".

Erdogan's announcement came a day after Devlet Bahceli, chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) called for early elections to be held on August 26, 2018.

Erdoğan, too, cast his vote in Üsküdar on Sunday. Few newspapers or other media openly criticize the government, and he has received far more election coverage than other presidential candidates.

"Turkey is staging a democratic revolution", he told reporters in the polling station. Turkish voters are voting Sunday in a historic double election for the presidency and parliament.

Still, Erdogan - who has been in power since 2003 - is facing a more robust, united opposition this time. As is customary in Turkey on polling days, sales of alcohol in shops are also prohibited.