Turkey Goes to the Polls for Important Parliamentary Election + Video

Sun Nov 1, 2015 11:10:06

Turkey has started casting ballots in a parliamentary election five months after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in parliament and failed to form a coalition government.

Polling stations opened on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) in the east, where people have until 4:00 p.m. (1300 GMT) to participate in the election, while voting is underway from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (0500 GMT to 1400 GMT) in the west.

Some 54 million Turks are registered to vote in the country of nearly 80 million.

The election, which is hoped to put an end to months of tensions and instability in Turkey, is closely watched by many who are waiting to see whether the AKP, founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would be able to garner enough votes to govern alone.

Back in June, no party managed to win enough seats in the parliament to form a government, which in August forced Erdogan to call fresh election after coalition talks did not yield any results.

Opinion polls have shown that the new election is very likely to repeat the shock of the previous polls, which ended the AKP’s majority after 13 years of single-party rule.

The party is expected to receive between 40 and 43 percent of the vote, which means it either has to form a shaky coalition that may not last long or the country should hold another election.

Tight security measures have been also adopted in Turkey as about 385,000 police and gendarmes are being sent across the country, especially in Kurdish regions.

Turkey has seen two major bombings blamed on Daesh Takfiri militants over the past months.

The Sunday election is also significant for the Turkish economy whose growth has slowed drastically from the heights of five years ago while the Turkish lira has plummeted about 25 percent in 2015.

Eyes are also on the performance of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in the vote after it managed to become the first pro-Kurdish movement in parliament and got enough seats to block an AKP majority in the June election.

However, the HDP has been accused of backing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s; Press TV reported.


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