Polls Open in Turkey; Erdogan Hopes for Majority

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) takes a picture with his supporters during an election rally of his AK Party. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Divided Turkey holds snap elections amid rising security and economic fears

BY Staff Reporter 

ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Nov 1): Turks began casting their votes on Sunday against a backdrop of economic and security concerns. The vote comes after failure to create a coalition government following June elections.

The parliamentary elections–that were suddenly called–are set to decide the fate of the country, which remains divided between ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), founded by President Recep Erdogan and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). Secularists in Turkey view AKP as being deeply conservative and promoting Islamist ideals.

If AKP fails to secure a single-party majority, it may be forced back into a coalition with either the main secularist opposition CHP or the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).  President Erdogan has vowed to respect the results of the election, which won’t be announced until 9 p.m., seven hours after polling closes.

President Erdogan called for snap elections after negotiations failed between AKP and CHP, causing political instability in the country. The parliamentary poll is the second in five months, after AKP was unable to retain its single-party majority in June.

Since then the country has experienced some instability: a ceasefire with Kurdish militants broke and Daesh launched one of the deadliest suicide attacks in the capital Ankara, killing more than 130 people.

While many polls suggest that the outcome is unlikely to be any different than June, a recent survey suggests that there has been an increase in support for AKP which will allow it to secure upto 47.2 percent of voters to secure more than half of the 550-seat parliament.

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