Turkey Votes in Crucial Election

Turkey Votes in Crucial ElectionTurkey Votes in Crucial Election

Voters in Turkey cast their ballots on Sunday in a parliamentary election that could lead to fundamental changes in how the country is governed.

Sunday’s election was held amid strong economic promises and debates on the Kurdish issue. The conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), the ruling party since 2002 and formerly led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is aiming to attain a two-thirds majority in the 550-seat parliament.

This will enable the party to change the constitution to replace Turkey’s parliamentary system with a presidential system that provides the president with strong powers, Al Jazeera reported.

By securing 330 seats, the party will be in a position to draft a constitution and try to have it approved through a referendum. The majority of surveys suggests that a victory with such a large margin is unlikely for the APK.

The three largest opposition parties in parliament have all declared that they are against the presidential system. Latest opinion polls indicated that the AKP was ahead of its rivals.

However, the surveys are divided on whether it will secure the 276 seats required to enable it to form a single-party government or reach the 330 mark to initiate moves for a new constitution.

Sunday’s election was held in a tense atmosphere, with bombings targeting the country’s Kurdish-oriented left-wing party (HDP) on Friday that killed four.

The HDP is seeking to cross the 10-percent threshold and enter parliament. Its success will affect the distribution of seats and, consequently, the power of the ruling party.

A strong showing from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the third-placed Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) could even force the AKP into a coalition, correspondents say.