Turkey is set for a runoff presidential election on 28 May after neither President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor his challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu won more than half of votes on Sunday.
Anadolu Agency, which tracked the results, put Erdogan at 49.59 percent and Kilicdaroglu at 44.67 percent with 94.24 percent of the ballots boxes opened.
Voters also cast their ballots for parliament, with Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and allied Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on course to retain their majority.
President Erdogan’s share of votes has fallen below 50 percent after early results published by state-run Anadolu Agency. If no candidate secures more than half the votes in the first round of voting, a May 28 runoff will be held.
In the lead up to the election, Erdogan found himself in a tough electoral battle as Kilicdaroglu, who headed a coalition of opposition parties, was closely tied with the president in the polls. This posed one of the most challenging electoral contests Erdogan had faced in years.
“I congratulate all my citizens who voted in the name of democracy and took part in the election work, and I express my gratitude to each and every one of them,” Erdogan tweeted as the votes were counted.
Kilicdaroglu said results were being impeded by objections and called on election authorities to “not block the people’s will”.