ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey's highest electoral body on Wednesday certified the results of last month's parliamentary and presidential elections, paving the way for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to continue his 15-year rule with expanded powers.
The Supreme Electoral Council confirmed Erdogan's victory in the June 24 presidential race, declaring that he won 52.59 percent of the votes. His closest rival, Muharrem Ince of the main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, gained 30.64 percent, while the imprisoned, pro-Kurdish candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, garnered 8.40 percent, the council confirmed.
According to the official result, Erdogan's conservative Justice and Development Party won 42.56 percent of the votes in the parliamentary ballot. The CHP's votes stood at 22.65 percent.
Erdogan, who is scheduled to be sworn into his new, five-year term on Monday, is set to rule with substantially expanded powers, in line with constitutional changes that were narrowly approved in a referendum last year.
Erdogan's party retains control of the parliament due to its alliance with Turkey's main nationalist party.
Earlier, the government issued a decree adjusting Turkey's laws to the new presidential system that comes into effect with the elections.
The decree, published in the Official Gazette, changes the wording in some 5,000 laws, removing references to the prime minister — whose office has been abolished — and transferring some powers to the president.
Under the new system, the president takes over the executive branch and forms the government, and appoints vice presidents, ministers and senior officials. The president can also issue decrees, prepare the budget and decide on security policies.
Critics say the new system amounts to one-man rule with few checks and balances.
Erdogan is also expected to form his government on July 9, shortly after he takes the oath of office.
The president has said he plans to streamline the cabinet, reducing the number of ministries from 26 to 16.