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Erdogan confirmed victor of Turkey election that brings sweeping new powers

Turks End Voting In Test Of Erdogan's Grip On Power

Last year, Erdogan narrowly won a referendum to convert the country's parliamentary system to a powerful executive presidency.

The HDP's presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas is presently detained in a high-security prison on terror charges, which he firmly denies.

Erdogan, the most popular but also divisive leader in modern Turkish history, argues the new powers will better enable him to tackle the nation's economic problems - the lira has lost 20 percent against the dollar this year - and deal with Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey and in neighboring Iraq and Syria.

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

Rallies by Muharrem Ince of the secular opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, have drawn massive crowds, while Meral Aksener of the newly-formed nationalist Good Party is trying to attract conservative votes away from Erdogan's ruling party. The current prime minister, Binali Yildirim, said he expects he'll be appointed vice president.

"Turkey has given a lesson in democracy to the entire world", he added, pointing to an 88 percent turnout.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on Sunday leading a tightly-contested presidential election in early counting as he seeks a new mandate in the face of a revitalised opposition and weakening economy. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent in Sunday's vote, a second round run-off will be held on July 8.

Trailing were Meral Aksener of the nationalist (Iyi) Good Party with over seven percent and Selahattin Demirtas of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) with nearly eight percent.

In the parliamentary vote, with 74 percent of ballot boxes counted, Erdogan's People's Alliance, which includes his AK party and a small nationalist party, stood at 55.7 percent, while the opposition Nation Alliance grouping together nationalists, secularists and a small Islamic-leaning party, was at 32.9 percent. The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party has 11.2 percent, passing the 10 percent threshold to enter into the assembly.

"The unofficial results of the elections have become clear".

With the vast power he has amassed during his 15-year run as prime minister and then president, Erdoğan was able to direct the machinery of the state to effectively campaign for him.

Turkey's military operations, created to guard its borders, are not the only way to ensure security as peaceful settlement of regional conflicts also proves to be effective, Unal Cevikoz, the Turkish opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy chair responsible for public diplomacy, told Sputnik on Sunday. Opposition candidates had vowed to return Turkey to a parliamentary democracy with strong checks and balances and have decried what they call Erdogan's "one-man rule".

Parliament has been weakened and the post of prime minister abolished, as measures approved in a controversial referendum a year ago take effect. Andalou said the party had won 42 percent of votes with 99 percent counted, projecting a total of 293 seats.

The president has arrested and jailed many of his opponents and critics since the attempted coup in 2016.