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Turkey Votes In Parliamentary Elections

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by MziziMkavu, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    Political parties are making their final push to win voters ahead of the June 12 general elections, in which 550 parliamentary seats.
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    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cast his vote in Istanbul. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL[/TD]

    Political parties are making their final push to win voters ahead of the June 12 general elections, in which 550 parliamentary seats – and a planned rewriting of the country’s Constitution – are at stake.
    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 at 1400 GMT and preliminary results are expected after 1800 GMT.
    Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of main the opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, was the first party leader to cast his vote in Sunday’s elections at 10 a.m in Ankara, along with his wife and son.
    The CHP leader told reporters after he cast his vote that it was the end of what he called “a long marathon” and a day of decision for the people.
    “We will respect the decision of the people. There is a good atmosphere and celebration of democracy,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that he hoped his party's efforts to bring democracy and freedom to the country would yield results.
    People who were voting at the same school with Kılıçdaroğlu chanted slogans supporting CHP leader.
    President Abdullah Gül also cast his vote with the first lady in the Çankaya district of the capital Ankara at around noon.
    "Our nation will make its decision today," Gül told reporters after casting his vote, calling for political unity after the elections. "Whatever has been said at election rallies will stay there. Tomorrow is the day to unite forces," he said.
    Gül also called on citizens to go to the ballot boxes and vote.
    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also voted at around noon with his wife Emine Erdoğan and daughter Sümeyye Erdoğan.
    Speaking to reporters at the polling station, he said he had held rallies in the city squares and that it was now time for the nation to speak up. Noting that the people would show their political will and decide who will rule the country in the upcoming four years, Erdoğan said this decision will be the one “we will respect.”
    The prime minister also said that voting had been going well up until now and wished the voting process would contribute to the strengthening of peace, basic rights and freedoms in Turkey.
    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.
    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.
    Parties need to win at least a 10 percent 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 percent of eligible voters participated in the last elections in 2007.

    source: Hrriyet Daily News and Economic Review, Bringing you Turkish Daily News, Turkey, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, opinions, photos, archives and more