More than fifty three million voters are heading to polling stations in Turkey to vote for a new Parliament in elections considered crucial for the country and for the wider region. Voting takes place on Sunday (June 7), between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The electorate is made up of 27,248,508 female and 26,493,330 male voters. Each voter will need to present a valid identification card with their personal Turkish Republic identity number printed on it before being allowed to vote. More than four hundred thousand police and security officers are on duty to ensure that polling takes place without incidents.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is expected to emerge again as the largest party, but its plans to turn Turkey into a presidential republic may be thwarted if it fails to gain enough seats to be able to change the constitution. The election may also see a new political force in Turkey, the leftist HDP party, passing the 10% threshhold necessary to enter parliament. The HDP has strong support among Turkey's Kurdish population and their entry into parliament will be an important step that may pave the way for greater autonomy for the mainly Kurdish regions of South Eastern Turkey where conflict between local groups and the central government has been going on for decades.
photo: Voting at Turkish elections on June 7 (Picture courtesy of Hurriyet Daily News)