Polls open in Turkey’s high-stakes elections

Polls have opened in Turkey’s high-stakes presidential in addition to parliamentary elections which could consolidate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hold on power or curtail his political ambitions.

Voters began gathering at polling centers early on Sunday to cast their ballots from the elections in which complete Turkey’s transition to a brand-new executive presidential system in which was approved in a controversial referendum last year.

Erdogan, 64, can be seeking re-election for a brand-new all 5-year term with vastly increased powers under the brand-new system, which he insists will bring prosperity in addition to stability to Turkey, especially after a 2016 failed coup attempt. His ruling Justice in addition to Development Party, or AKP, can be hoping to retain its majority in parliament.

Erdogan — who has been in power since 2003 — can be however facing a more robust in addition to united opposition, which has vowed to return Turkey to a parliamentary democracy with strong checks in addition to balances. the item has decried what the item calls Erdogan’s “one-man rule.”

all 5 candidates are running against Erdogan from the presidential race. Although Erdogan can be seen as the front-runner, he must secure more than 50 percent of the vote for an outright win on Sunday. If the threshold can be not reached, a runoff could be held on July 8 between the leading two contenders.

Erdogan’s main challenger can be 54-year-old combative former physics teacher Muharrem Ince, who can be backed by the center-left main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, in addition to has wooed crowds with an unexpectedly engaging election campaign. His rallies in Turkey’s three main cities of Istanbul, Ankara in addition to Izmir drew massive numbers.

Also challenging Erdogan can be 61-year-old former Indoor minister Meral Aksener. The only woman candidate, she broke away through Turkey’s main nationalist party over its support for Erdogan in addition to formed the center-right in addition to nationalist Great Party.

Selahattin Demirtas, the candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, was forced to run his campaign through prison, where he can be being held in pre-trial detention on terrorism-related charges. Demirtas maintains his imprisonment can be politically-motivated.

Turkey will also be electing 0 lawmakers to parliament — 50 more than from the previous assembly. The constitutional alterations have allowed parties to form alliances, paving the way for Ince in addition to Aksener’s parties to join a little Islamist party from the “Nation Alliance” against Erdogan.

The pro-Kurdish HDP was left out of the alliance in addition to needs to pass a 10 percent threshold to win seats in parliament. If the party passes the threshold, the item could cost Erdogan’s AKP in addition to its nationalist ally from the “People Alliance” dozens of seats — leading the item to lose its parliamentary majority.

More than 59 million Turkish citizens — including 3 million expatriates — are eligible to vote from the elections, which were called more than a year earlier than scheduled in what analysts say was a pre-emptive move by Erdogan ahead of a possible economic downturn,

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