Erdogan Wins Turkey Elections

by Ike Obudulu Posted on June 25th, 2018

Ankara, Turkey: The Supreme Election Council (YSK) declared Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the winner early Monday, hours after he had announced his victory in the country’s high-stakes double snap elections based on unofficial results.

“The results show Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan gained an absolute majority of valid votes,” YSK chief Sadi Guven said, according to state news media.

Around 97.7 percent of votes had been counted and the remaining votes would not affect the result, he added.

Presidential and legislative polls were held simultaneously for the first time in Turkey’s history on Sunday, pitting the strongman leader who has transformed the country’s political system against a resurgent opposition warning of “one-man rule.”

The election completes the country’s transition to an executive presidency. The new system, which narrowly passed in a constitutional referendum in April 2017, will abolish the prime minister’s post and the president will become both the head of state and government, give Erdogan sweeping new powers.

For Erdogan, installing an executive presidency has been his years-long ambition and he staked his career on it by calling the elections 18 months early.

“Our people granted me the presidency and executive rule,” Erdogan said in a speech claiming victory in Istanbul before official results were released. “I hope nobody will overshadow the election results to bury their own failures.”

Opposition parties had alleged manipulation in the initial results and the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) called on its supporters for calm.

For the first time in Turkey, a united and boisterous opposition had threatened Erdogan’s dominance and was aiming to at least force a run-off vote on July 8.

The CHP called on its supporters for calm after Erdogan declared himself the election winner.

Whatever the result is, people should not “let themselves be provoked,” CHP spokesman Bulent Tezcan said in Ankara, adding that the party would continue to monitor the situation until the YSK announced its official results.

Counting was not yet finished and the CHP would only be able to comment on the results on Monday, Tezcan said.

CHP presidential candidate Muharrem Ince said on Twitter he would make a statement at noon on Monday (0900 GMT).

The mood at CHP headquarters in Ankara, where hundreds of supporters had gathered, changed in a flash from despondent and subdued to angry and tense. One woman wept: “This is not what we deserve.” Others shouted for the leadership to address them and show them the path forward.

On the campaign trail, Ince had proved to be a formidable rival as he drew hundreds of thousands of hopefuls to his rallies, using the same language as Erdogan, but promising an administration of inclusion and vowing to overturn the executive presidency.

A former physics teacher, he had energized the opposition on the campaign trail with fiery speeches and pledges to end what he calls “one-man rule” by Erdogan.

The elections were “neither free nor fair,” Sevim Dagdelen, chairwoman of the German-Turkish parliamentary group, said.

“Erdogan has reached his goal of an authoritarian presidential system through manipulation that began long before election day,” Dagdelen, a member of Die Linke (The Left) party who is of Kurdish origin, told reporters.

“There is reason to fear that Erdogan will push Turkey to new extremes,” she said.

Erdogan has won every election in the nearly 16 years.

He was prime minister from 2003 until 2014. When he couldn’t contest a fourth time in line with his party’s statutes, he ran for president in 2014 – and won in the country’s first direct election for that role.

After arriving in Ankara, Erdogan said that Turkey “has passed another test of democracy, setting an example to the whole world.”

“Our democracy has won, the people’s will has won, Turkey has won. … all victimized people in our region, in the world have won,” he continued.

He also thanked Turkish citizens, saying turnout had been the highest in the country’s history.

“I thank all of my citizens, no matter from which party, who went to the ballot box to exercise their democratic right,” he said.

“Turkey has made its choice in favour of protecting its democracy, its rights and freedoms, maintaining its reforms. Turkey has made its choice in favour of growth, development, investments,” he added.

Also for the first time in Turkey’s history, political parties were allowed to form coalitions following a change in electoral laws in March.

The People’s Alliance groups Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in power since 2002, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and a second ultra-nationalist movement, the Great Union Party (BBP).

The Nation Alliance comprises the CHP, Iyi, the Islamist Saadet Party and the conservative Democrat Party (DP).

The YSK said that the AKP, CHP, MHP, Iyi and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, which was not a part of either alliance, had crossed the 10-per-cent threshold to enter parliament.

Market Reaction To Erdogan Winning Turkey Elections

The Turkish lira jumped as currency markets opened Monday, in the wake of a victory for incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

The lira rose by about 0.5% against the U.S. dollar and the euro, after rising by as much as 1.8% in early Asia-Pacific trading hours to its strongest level in about two weeks.

With 97.7 percent of Turkish ballots counted, Mr. Erdogan received 52.5% of the vote, enough to avoid a second runoff election. In addition, Mr. Erdogan’s party secured a majority in parliament.

But many analysts suggested that any relief rally for the currency would be short-lived, as investors will now turn to lingering long-term concerns about the Turkish currency.

“In the past, Turkish assets have responded positively to political events that were perceived as increasing political stability,” analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note before the election.

“However, President Erdogan’s comments on monetary policy during the election campaign–advocating lower interest rates and indicating that he would play a more active role in monetary policy–have raised concerns over the future direction of monetary policy in the event of this outcome,” Goldman said.

Mr. Erdogan has described high interest rates as “the mother and father of all evils.” Investors have expressed concern that his preference for lower rates is preventing the country’s central bank from supporting the currency and soothing inflationary pressure.

In the last 10 years, the Turkish currency has lost nearly three quarters of its value against the dollar.

“The recent financial market turmoil means that a sharp slowdown is [in] the cards,” said Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics. “The risks stemming from the election are more likely to materialize over the longer term–in particular, the risk that an Erdogan-AKP government pursues much looser fiscal and monetary policy.”

A decline in oil prices may have contributed to the recovery of the lira Monday. The country is a large importer of crude oul, which is denominated in dollars. Brent crude oil prices fell 2% Monday to $73.84 per barrel, following a Russia-backed deal by the oil-exporting nations of OPEC to increase output.

Elsewhere in currency markets there were few large moves, with the ICE U.S. Dollar Index roughly flat from its level Friday. The dollar fell slightly against the Japanese yen, dropping 0.4% to Yen109.52

Author

Ike Obudulu

Ike Obudulu

Versatile Certified Fraud Examiner, Chartered Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor with an MBA in Finance And Investments who has both worked for and consulted with some of the world's largest companies on main street and wall street in over 20 countries, Ike brings his extensive reporting and investigations experience to bear on his role as Chief Editor.
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