Polling stations in Turkey close after memorable elections

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By Webdesk

Voter turnout was high for an election that could determine Turkey’s future.

Turks have finished voting in one of the most sweeping elections in the country’s 100-year history, a contest that could end President Tayyip Erdogan’s 20-year rule and reverberate far beyond Turkey’s borders .

Election polling stations, where voters cast their votes for both the president and parliament, closed at 5 p.m. local time (1400 GMT).

High turnout means long queues at polling stations all over Turkey, especially in the biggest cities. The Istanbul Bar Association has reminded people that if they wait at a polling station before 5pm, they can stay and vote, but anyone who comes in line after that will not be allowed to vote.

Turkish law prohibits reporting results until 9pm, although that has been raised in the past. There could be a good indication of a run-off coming late on Sunday.

Opinion polls have given Erdogan’s main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who heads a six-party alliance, a slight lead, with two polls on Friday showing him above the 50 percent threshold needed to win outright. If neither wins more than 50 percent of the vote on Sunday, a runoff will be held on May 28.

The presidential vote will decide not only who will lead Turkey, a NATO member state of 85 million people, but how it will be governed, where the economy will go amid a deep cost-of-living crisis, and the shape of its foreign policy.

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