Ankara, June 24 (IANS) Voting was underway on Sunday in Turkeys parliamentary and presidential elections as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces his biggest electoral threat in 15 years of rule.
There are a total of 56,322,632 registered voters with 180,065 ballot boxes across the country, reports Anadolu News Agency.
Voting started at 8 a.m. and will continue till 5.00 p.m.
Voters are casting two separate ballot papers in the same envelope — one for the presidential and one for the parliamentary elections.
After the voting ends, ballots cast for the presidential candidates will be counted first.
Some 1.49 million expats voted in a 13-day period between June 7-19 at 123 Turkish missions abroad.
Six candidates are running for president: incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the People’s Alliance formed by the Justice and Development (AK) Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Muharrem Ince from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Selahattin Demirtas for Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Meral Aksener for the newly formed Good (IYI) Party, Temel Karamollaoglu for the Felicity (Saadet) Party, and Dogu Perincek for the Patriotic (Vatan) Party, Anadolu reported.
If none of the candidates gain a clear majority, Turkey will hold a run-off presidential vote on July 8
For the parliamentary polls, eight political parties are in the fray.
For the first time in Turkish history, political parties went to elections by forming alliances.
Incumbent President Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics since his rise as Prime Minister in 2003 and has transformed the nation, reports CNN.
He implemented policies that encouraged sustained economic growth and development, challenged Turkey’s secular foundations by bringing Islamic conservatism to public life and gutted public institutions by having tens of thousands of people arrested following a failed military coup in 2016.
Erdogan narrowly won a referendum last year to convert the country’s parliamentary system to a powerful executive presidency.
Whoever wins will be given sweeping new powers, as the role of Prime Minister is dissolved and the President gains the authority to issue laws by decree.