UK & World News

  • 11 August 2014, 6:56

Turkish PM Erdogan Wins Presidential Election

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won his country's first direct presidential election.

Mr Erdogan declared victory in a landmark vote that will ensure the current Prime Minister remains at the forefront of Turkish politics for at least another five years.

"Today the national will won once again, today democracy won once again," MrErdogan told thousands of cheering supporters in his victory speech in Ankara.

"Those who didn't vote for me won as much as those who did, those who don't like me won as much as those who do," he added.

The three-term Prime Minister's message of unity was in stark contrast to his mostly bitter, divisive pre-election campaign, when he poured scorn on his opponents.

Mr Erdogan will now have to step down as Prime Minister and appoint a replacement.

With 99% of ballot boxes counted, MrErdogan had 51.95% of the vote, according to figures from the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The victory will allow MrErdogan to press ahead with plans to strengthen the powers of the presidency - which until now was largely a ceremonial post.

The 60-year-old has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade.

Revered by many as a man of the people who ushered in a period of economic prosperity, he is reviled by others as an increasingly autocratic leader.

His opponents view him as someone trying to impose his religious and conservative views on a country with strong secular traditions.

Reaction to MrErdogan's election win on Sunday was mixed, with some opponents expressing disappointment at the results.

His main rival, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, had 38.34% of the vote and the third candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, had 9.71%.