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A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Brussels on June 16, 2018, for the presidential and general elections, which will be held in Turkey on June 24, 2018.What happens after the vote?

The biggest threat is posed by Muharrem Ince of the secular Republican People's Party (CHP).

Meanwhile, Erdogan's ruling AK Party had 45.18 percent and its Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ally had 11.78 percent in Turkey's parliamentary elections, with 61.1 percent of votes counted, according to CNN Turk and other local broadcasters.

Mr. Tezcan said the CHP's own voting tally suggested that support for Mr. Erdogan remained below the 50% required to win the presidency in the first round. To achieve an outright victory and avoid a second round, Erdogan needs to secure more than 50 percent of the vote.

The stakes are particularly high as the new president will be the first to enjoy enhanced powers under a new constitution agreed in an April 2017 referendum strongly backed by Erdogan.

Another person who could siphon of votes from Erdogan is the only female candidate, Meral Aksener of the lyi, the Good Party. "With the presidential system, Turkey is seriously raising the bar, rising above the level of contemporary civilisations".

Voting in Istanbul along with his son-in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan said he expected turnout to be strong, in an indication of "how mature democracy is in Turkey".

The main opposition party, the Republican People's Party is led by Muharrem Ince.

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Opposition parties and NGOs said they were deploying half a million monitors at ballot boxes to prevent fraud.

As of 15:50 GMT, Erdogan is leading in the polls with almost 60 percent of the vote after 20 percent of the ballot boxes were opened.

He brought forward the elections from November 2019, but he reckoned without Mr. Ince, a former physics teacher and veteran CHP lawmaker, whose feisty performance at campaign rallies has galvanized Turkey's long-demoralised and divided opposition.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a press conference following the first landing of his plane at the Istanbul New Airport on June 21, 2018.

The AKP government imposed emergency law after the 2016 coup attempt and has extended it seven times since.

The president's critics, including the European Union which Turkey still nominally aspires to join, say Erdogan has used the crackdown to stifle dissent.

Ince told a rally on Saturday he would lift the state of emergency within 48 hours of being elected president. All we want is a fair competition. If the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) wins seats by polling over the 10 per cent minimum threshold, the AKP will struggle to keep its overall majority. He would be expected to win a run-off on July 8, while his AK Party may lose its parliamentary majority.