Turks vote in parliamentary elections


Some 50 million Turks expected to vote in the general elections to shape the 550-seat parliament. [EPA]

More than 50 million expected to vote in Turkey as ruling party seeks third straight term in office
Polls have opened in Turkey where more than 50 million Turks are eligible to cast their ballots to elect a new 550-seat parliament.

Voting started at 7am (0400 GMT) on Sunday in eastern Turkey and an hour later in the west.

All polling stations are expected to close 1400 GMT and preliminary results are expected after 1800 GMT.

Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s president, on Friday urged citizens to turn out in force. “No one can pressure you, or keep you from voting,” Gul said, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, whose Justice and Development Party (AKP) is seeking a third term, formally wrapped up his campaign in eastern Turkey on Friday.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), ended his campaign in the western city of Izmir, while Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), arrived home in the southern province of Osmaniye.

Candidates from 15 parties, as well as many independent candidates, are in the fray.

Party leaders have been travelling the country for weeks, often addressing several rallies a day.

Media restrictions

The country’s electoral board, the YSK, has restricted media reporting until 9pm (1800 GMT) on Sunday.

Other rules enforced by the YSK on voting day include a ban on alcohol from Sunday morning until Monday afternoon, according to the semi-official Anatolia News Agency.

Parties need to win at least a 10 per cent share of the national vote to be elected to parliament.

But this does not apply to independent candidates, such as those representing the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the country’s southeast, where the population is predominantly Kurdish.

Istanbul, Turkey’s main city, will be represented by 85 deputies in the new parliament, while Ankara, the capital, gets 31 seats. Many of Turkey’s less populated provinces will be represented by a single deputy.

Seats are awarded on the basis of proportional representation, with each party gaining a number of seats in each district based on its share of the local vote.

Almost 85 per cent of eligible voters participated in the last elections in 2007


Turkish Elections: Party List

Fifteen parties will field candidates in Sunday’s elections, according to Turkish electoral authorities. Independent candidates will also stand in many areas.

Justice and Development Party (AKP)
Democrat Party (DP)
Republican People’s Party (CHP)
Labour Party (EMEP)
Nation Party (MP)
Liberal Democrat Party (LDP)
Felicity Party (SP)
Rights and Equality Party (HEPAR)
People’s Voice Party (HSP)
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)
True Path Party (DYP)
Turkish Communist Party (TKP)
National Conservative Party (MMP)
Grand Unity Party (BBP)
Democratic Left Party (DSP)


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