Erdogan, ruling AK Party take early lead

ANKARA: 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.
However, the first results had been expected to give Erdogan and his party a strong lead and it was expected to shorten as more votes are tallied across the nation of 81 million people.
With about 40 per cent of votes counted in the presidential race, Erdogan had 57 per cent, well ahead of his closest rival, Muharrem Ince, of the main opposition, secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), on 28 per cent, broadcasters said.
If no presidential candidate wins more than 50 per cent in Sunday’s vote, a second round run-off will be held on July 8. In the parliamentary contest, the AK Party had 48.61 per cent, based on a quarter of votes counted, broadcasters said.
The CHP had 18.12 per cent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) 8.47 per cent.
The opposition nationalist Iyi (Good) Party had 9.1 per cent, while the AK Party’s alliance partner, the MHP, took 12.54 per cent. Turnout was high at around 87 per cent for both contests, the state broadcaster said in a report.