Turkey Votes in 25th General Election

Turkey Votes in 25th General ElectionTurkey Votes in 25th General Election

More than 53 million Turkish voters head to the polls on Sunday in perhaps the country’s most eagerly awaited general election in a decade.

The vote will see 550 deputies from among 20 political parties and 165 independent candidates elected to the Turkish Grand National Assembly, representing 85 constituencies in 81 provinces for a four-year term. Turnout is expected to be high. The 2011 general election saw 84 percent of the electorate vote, World Bulletin reported.

Turkey elects its parliamentary representatives through a closed list system of proportional representation that sees a set number of candidates elected per district. In all but three cases, a district corresponds to a province, only in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir provinces are there multiple districts.

Under this system, a political party must achieve a nationwide 10 percent threshold to achieve a single parliamentary seat, the highest threshold among the world’s democracies.

The system, introduced in the 1980s, works in favor of large parties but counts against smaller groups, meaning many smaller parties opt for their candidates to stand as independents and then “join” the party if they succeed in getting elected.

 Explosion at Opposition Rally

Two explosions went off at an opposition rally in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Saturday, killing two people and injuring more than 200. Turkish Kurds gathered on Saturday to mourn and protest at the scene of bomb blasts.

The twin explosions tore through a rally of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Diyarbakir, largest city in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast.

One of the explosions was reportedly caused by a bomb packed with ball bearings, judicial sources said Saturday. Ball bearings, nails and other metal parts from the device were gathered as evidence but no suspects were identified, security sources said.

Hospital sources said more than 200 had sought treatment. A Kurdish political group said more than 300 were hurt.

Judicial sources in Diyarbakir said investigators had confirmed that the explosion was caused by a bomb.