Turkey is braced for its first run-off election after incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to secure a first-round win in Sunday’s presidential election.
Erdogan, who has held the presidency since 2014 and dominated Turkish politics for two decades, edged ahead of his rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, though failed to win outright in the first round.
Erdogan sounded triumphant as he greeted supporter shortly after midnight, proclaiming himself ready to lead Turkey for another five years.
The Anadolu state news agency reported that Erdogan had won 49.3 percent of the vote, compared with 45.0 percent for Kilicdaroglu, who represents a historic alliance of six opposition parties organised to defeat Erdogan.
Some polling before the election had shown Kilicdaroglu in the lead.
The second round of voting is scheduled for 28 May, the first-ever presidential runoff vote in the country’s history.
The election became a referendum on Erdogan as Turkey’s longest-serving leader, with turnout reaching 90 percent.
The Turkish lira fell against the dollar and euro in reaction to the results, with investors disappointed that Erdogan’s erratic economic policies may continue.
Many voters have expressed frustration at the government’s slow response to the February earthquake which killed more than 50,000 people.