Turkey to vote in first presidential, parliamentary polls after failed coup
Citizens of Turkey will cast their ballot on Sunday in the first presidential and parliamentary elections after the failed coup in June 2016.
The vote was initially expected to take place in November 2019, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan scheduled the early vote for June 24, 2018.
More than 56 million of registered voters will go to polling stations to elect the country’s president and members of the Turkish parliament, which had been reformed to include 600 lawmakers instead of 550. The age threshold has also been lowered, from 25 years to 18.
The Turkish president and parliament are elected in a nationwide vote for a five-year term.
Polling stations will be opened from 8:00 local time to 17:00 local time. The votes in the presidential election will be counted first.
Six candidates, including the incumbent president, are taking part in the presidential race. Erdogan’s main challenger is Muharrem Ince of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
The current leader is expected to get the 50% of votes and win in the first round. However, a number of pollsters project that a runoff may be necessary. If all candidates fail to get more than 50% of the vote, it will take place on July 8.
Other presidential candidates are Meral Aksener of the IYI Party (translated into English as the Good Party), Temel Karamollaoglu of the Felicity Party, Dogu Perincek of the Patriotic party and Selahattin Demirtas of the pro-minority Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
The Supreme Election Commission has cleared nine parties to run in the parliamentary polls, including the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Erdogan and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which form the ruling alliance. The main opposition alliance includes Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Islamist Felicity Party and the newly formed nationalist IYI Party.
The parties that run independently are the pan-Islamism Free Cause Party, left-wing nationalist Patriotic Party and the Free Cause Party.
The Independent Turkey Party, which is also eligible for the vote, decided to boycott the upcoming polls.
In an interview with the Anadolu news agency, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said “the government has been taking serious steps in recent months to ensure security of the upcoming polls.”
On June 22, 14 members of the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) were detained in the Turkish capital. On Saturday, police arrested 21 members of the Gulenist Terrorist Organisation” (FETO), the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Jabhat al-Nusra group (outlawed in Russia). Some of the detainees are suspected of plotting terror attacks to disrupt the vote.
In this regard, additional forces will be deployed to ensure security in Turkey’s major cities. At least 16,000 police officers will be on duty in Ankara alone.