Turkey prepares for June 24 early elections

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ANKARA

Turks will go to the polls on June 24 to elect the country’s new president as well as parliamentary members.

There are a total of six presidential candidates — Muharrem Ince, Meral Aksener, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Selahattin Demirtas, Temel Karamollaoglu and Dogu Perincek.

Eleven political parties are contesting the early elections: ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, Grand Unity Party (BBP), Independent Turkey Party (BTP), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Democrat Party (DP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Free Cause (Huda-Par) Party, newly-formed Good (IYI) Party, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Felicity (Saadet) Party and the Patriotic (Vatan) Party.

Last April, the parliament passed a bill for early elections on June 24, cementing Turkey’s move to a presidential system.

In the April 2017 referendum, Turkish voters had approved the switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.

Under the changes, the number of lawmakers in parliament increases to 600 from 550, presidential and parliamentary elections would be held every five years, and the country’s president is allowed to retain ties to his/her political party. The prime ministerial post has also been abolished.

Both in presidential and parliamentary elections, 59,391,328 electorates, including 56,342,263 in Turkey and 3,049,065 abroad, will go to polls in the elections.

Voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time across the country.

Political parties must submit their list of parliamentary candidates to Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) by May 21.

Voting at foreign missions and custom gates will begin on June 7.

Firsts in political history

For the first time in Turkish political history, political parties will go to election by forming alliances. Also, mobile ballot boxes, presidential candidate with 100,000 signatures and the fact that presidential and parliamentary elections both would be held on the same day are some of the firsts in this election process.

Turkey’s ruling AK Party and MHP will enter the race as an alliance while CHP, IYI Party, SP and DP will participate as part of the other alliance.

A total of 2,400 people have applied to use mobile polling boxes, which was created to help the disabled and bed-bound patients.

Expats to vote

Turkish expats will vote in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in 60 countries.

Turkish citizens, who have registered in the foreign electoral roll, will be able to vote at 123 foreign missions on June 7-19 or at the customs stations on June 7-24.

If the presidential election goes to the second run-off stage then voters will go to polls on June 30-July 4.

Voting will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time on weekdays and weekends at the foreign missions.

Turkish voters will use 13 polling stations in Germany, seven in the U.S., six in France, four in Russia, China and Greece, and three in Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Iran, and Kazakhstan.

Election calendar

May 18 – Political parties in an alliance will be able to give up their union until May 18.

May 25 – Last day for political parties candidate lists.

June 7 – Voting at custom gates and foreign missions begins.

June 19 – Voting ends abroad.

June 23 – Election campaigns end at 6 p.m. local time

June 24 – Election Day

Calendar for second round

If an absolute majority of valid votes do not emerge in the first run then the election calendar for the second vote on July 8 will be as follow:

June 25 – Last day of a candidate’s appointment; in case one of the candidates qualifies to participate in the second run but does not run in the election for any reason.

June 29 – YSK announces official election results.

June 30 – Voting begins at customs gates and abroad.

July 4 – Voting at custom gates and abroad ends.

July 7 – Election campaigning period ends at 6 p.m. local time.

July 8 – Election Day.

July 9 – Presidential election result to be announced.

July 12 – YSK to announce final result.

Reporting by Aylin Sirikli and Ferdi Turkten:Writing by Handan Kazanci






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