Turkey’s powerful president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will go head to head with his opposition rival in a run-off vote, the supreme election council has confirmed.

Mr Erdogan led the first round with 49.51% of the vote, its chairman said.

Although he had a clear lead over his main challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who polled 44.88%, he needed more than half the vote to win the race outright.

A second round will go ahead on 28 May, with Mr Erdogan the clear favourite.

Shortly before the announcement by election council leader Ahmet Yener, the president’s rival appealed to supporters not to “fall into despair” and to stand and take on the election together.

Mr Erdogan has been in power in Turkey for more than 20 years, first as prime minister and then as president, extending his powers still further after a failed coup in 2016.

With Mr Kilicdaroglu as candidate, the opposition was seen as having its best chance so far at removing him from power, because of a broad-based alliance of parties.

Mr Yener said all of the ballot boxes from Sunday’s vote had been opened and turnout in Turkey was 88.92%. However, it was clear that a number of votes cast abroad had not yet been counted.

The international monitoring group OSCE, highlighted several flaws in the election, pointing out that Mr Erdogan and the ruling parties had enjoyed “an unjustified advantage”.

BBC News

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