Turkey Holding Early General Election amid Tensions

Southeast Europe | November 1, 2015, Sunday // 09:55|  views

Photo by BGNES

Turkish voters are going to the polls for a second time this year in an early parliamentary election, with uncertainty over whether the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is to gain a majority.

The AKP lost its majority on June 7, and attempts to form a coalition government with other parties failed. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former PM and AKP leader, maintains a one-party rule will enforce the country's stability.

Three other parties are also vying to pass the 10-percent threshold and enter Parliament. These are left-wing, formerly Kemalist People's Republican Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP).

In June, the HDP marked the first time that a pro-Kurdish political force (predecessors ran under different names) passed the barrier, and some polls suggest the HDP will once more be able to garner more than 10 percent. Previously, Kurdish politicians have made it into Parliament bidding as independent candidates.

There are 54 million eligible voters in the country, but also 3 million abroad, most of them in Europe.

Some 385 000 security forces are in charge of election security on Sunday.

H?rriyet Daily News quotes Deputy PM Akcin Yal??n Akdo?an as saying "around one million from the [AKP] will be on duty," given the presence of an AKP member in the Ballot Box Committee in each polling station. Members of other parties are also taking part as assistants or observers.

The AKP has been heading the country's interim government since early elections were called.

Sunday's vote is taking place in the aftermath of two suicide attacks since the previous vote, with the deadliest attack in Turkish history killing more than 100 in Ankara in October.

The country has also renewed clashes with fighters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and is carrying out a bombing campain on both IS and PKK targets.

Critics of the AKP, which has dominated Turkey's political life over the past 12 years, have accused it of clamping down on freedom of speech in the run-up to the elections.


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Tags: turkey, early elections, AKP, CHP, MHP, HDP, Recep Tayyip Erdogan


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