ROTTERDAM, August 11 -- Turkey's new president-elect is expected to change the political system, but experts say Erdogan faces many challenges.
Turkey's outgoing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has secured the majority required to win in the first round of the country's first direct presidential elections, but low voter turnout in the landmark polls has raised uncertainty around Erdogan's efforts to change the country's political system.
"There is no doubt that he won the election, but it is not the resounding mandate [Erdogan] was seeking to transform the Turkish constitution," said Soli Ozel, a professor of international relations and political science at Istanbul Bilgi University.
Provisional results showed Erdogan winning 52 percent of the vote, ahead of his two rivals, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the main candidate of the two main opposition parties in parliament, the centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and pro-Kurdish Selahattin Demirtas. Early estimates indicated that 70 percent of the 53 million eligible voters participated in the election, a sharp drop from the 89 percent turnout that gave Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) a resounding victory in local elections in March.
Voting in Turkey is compulsory and the state punishes those who do not vote with a monetary fine, but the law is rarely enforced. Ahead of Turkish parliamentary elections in 2015, Erdogan is expected to push through constitutional change to bolster the current role of president, and transform Turkish politics into a US-style presidential system with executive powers.
"A new constitution on the path to a new Turkey will be one of our priorities if elected president. A new constitution means a new future," Erdogan said during his campaign.
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