Published: Sun, June 24, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Voting begins in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections

Voting begins in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections

He also hailed the executive presidency that comes into force after the elections.

Polls for Turkey's landmark elections will open at 8am local time (05:00 GMT) on Sunday and close at 5pm (14:00 GMT).

After casting his ballot in his jail in the northwestern region of Edirne, Demirtas wrote on Twitter: "I wish that everyone uses their vote for the sake of the future and democracy of the country".

The victor of Sunday's presidential contest will acquire sweeping new executive powers under a constitutional overhaul backed by Erdogan and endorsed previous year by a narrow majority of Turks in a referendum.

The president had for the last two years ruled under a state of emergency imposed in the wake of the 2016 failed coup, with tens of thousands arrested in an unprecedented crackdown which cranked up tensions with the West.

Still, Erdogan - who has been in power since 2003 - is facing a more robust, united opposition this time. Critics say it will further erode democracy in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member state and entrench one-man rule.

This weekend's election in Turkey may be a lose-lose scenario for investors. He said turnout appeared to be high and that "no serious incidents" had occurred.

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attend an election rally in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2018.

Five candidates are running against Erdogan in the presidential race.

Selahattin Demirtas, another presidential candidate who heads the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), called on people to vote for his party.

On Saturday police said at least one million people had turned out in Istanbul's Maltepe district to hear Ince promise to reverse - if he wins the presidency - what he sees as Turkey's turn towards more authoritarian rule under Erdogan.

The men agreed that their children were too young to "truly remember" the bad days before Mr Erdogan, which is why the younger generation are supporters of the Kurdish HDP.

More than 59 million Turkish citizens, including some 3 million living overseas, are eligible to vote on Sunday. Confident and combative, Ince said "Erdogan you are going!" and called him a "fascist".

Turkey will also be electing 600 lawmakers to parliament on Sunday - 50 more than in the previous assembly.

"Everyone is voting peacefully", he told reporters.

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 it does so, it will be harder for the AKP to get a majority. "I hope that we will wake up to a more lovely day tomorrow".

The observers will prepare a report by monitoring the campaigning process, on election participation and on whether worldwide election standards were upheld.

The elections will be followed by the biggest change in Turkey's political system in over half a century. Some will even have to pass through security checkpoints to vote.

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