Written by Reuters
24 Jun, 2018 | 2:36 pm
Reuters – Turks begin voting for a new president and parliament on Sunday (June 24) in elections that pose the biggest challenge to Tayyip Erdogan and his party since they swept to power more than a decade and a half ago.The elections will also usher in a powerful new executive presidency backed by a small majority of Turks in a 2017 referendum.
Erdogan’s challengers include Muharrem Ince from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), jailed former pro-Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas and former interior minister Meral Aksener from the fledgling Iyi (Good) Party. Opinion polls place Erdogan around 20 percentage points ahead of his nearest challenger, Ince.
If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of votes on June 24, a run-off will be held on July 8 between the two best-performing candidates.
Erdogan’s ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party will contest the parliamentary election in an alliance with the nationalist MHP party, while the secularist CHP has formed a rival tie-up with the Iyi Party and the small Saadet Party. The pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) will run without a partner.
Parties will receive votes independent of their alliances, but those included in an alliance will be able to bypass a 10 percent threshold normally needed to enter parliament. If the pro-Kurdish party exceeds the 10 percent threshold of votes needed to enter parliament, it will be harder for the AKP to achieve a majority.
Voting is already on process and will end at 5 pm today (1400 GMT). Nearly 60 million Turks are eligible to vote, out of a total population of 81 million.
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