The Turkish Election Commission confirmed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won Sunday's presidential election with an absolute majority, thus clearing the way for him to become head of state without the need for a runoff.

With 99 percent of the votes counted, Erdogan received 51.8 percent of the vote and will succeed outgoing President Abdullah Gül for a five-year term.

His closest rival, 70-year-old academician Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, obtained 38.5 percent of the vote and Kurdish activist Selahattin Demirtas 9.8 percent, according to the daily Hürriyet.

"Ninety-nine percent of the votes have been counted. The uncounted votes will not alter the result," said Electoral Commission president Sadi Güven in a communique, adding that the final vote count will be released on Monday.

"Erdogan has achieved an absolute majority in the valid votes. We have decided, therefore, that there is no need to prepare a runoff," the note reads.

The presidency of Turkey has limited powers and is a mostly ceremonial role, although Erdogan has emphasized that he wants to undertake a legal reform to provide more powers to the head of state.

To implement that reform the constitution must be amended and that would only be possible if the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, which Erdogan heads, wins broadly in the 2015 legislative elections given that a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority in the Turkish Parliament.

Until then, Erdogan has promised an "active" presidency using all the authority the office enjoys, including the ability to convene and preside at meetings of the Cabinet.

Erdogan, who has led Turkey as premier for the past 12 years, has never hidden his desire to remain in power until at least 2023, when the centennial of the founding of the Turkish republic will take place and when Turkey - he has promised - will have become one of the world's 10 largest economies.

Some 53 million Turks were called to the polls on Sunday and turnout was 74 percent, according to Turkish media, well below the 89 percent who voted in the local elections last March.

All the analysts had agreed that a low turnout would benefit Erdogan, given that his conservative electorate is more faithful than the lay parties of the opposition. EFE