Preliminary, unofficial vote count shows Erdogan in the lead

(Update 1: First unofficial vote tallies)

Istanbul, May 14 (EFE).- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is leading in the preliminary and unofficial vote count in his country’s presidential election on Sunday, having garnered 53 percent of the ballots tabulated so far, according to the government’s Anadolu news agency, although only one-third of the ballots have been counted.

According to the preliminary figures, Erdogan, a conservative Islamist nationalist who has been in power in Turkey for the past two decades, appears to have won a third five-year term.

His opposition rival for the presidency, social democrat Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has received 40 percent of the ballots, according to Anadolu’s figures.

Kilicdaroglu’s CHP party, in conducting its own preliminary vote count, says – however – that its candidate and Erdogan are virtually tied.

If neither man receives an absolute majority in Sunday’s vote, a runoff will be held in two weeks to decide who will govern the country.

The vote count is proceeding at markedly different rates by region, with the count in big cities like Istanbul, Ankara and Smyrna – where the opposition has more support – proceeding a little more slowly than in the rest of the country, and the net result is that the reported vote count could vary considerably as tabulations from different areas come in.

Regarding the country’s parliamentary elections, which are also being held on Sunday, the government alliance headed by Erdogan’s AKP party reportedly has received some 61 percent of the votes tabulated so far, although just 10 percent of the ballots have been counted.

EFE as-iut/bp

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