Voting is under way in Turkey’s crucial parliamentary and presidential elections, pitting a strongman leader who has transformed the country’s political system against a resurgent opposition warning of “one-man rule”.
The elections are being held simultaneously for the first time in Turkey’s history and will complete the country’s transition to an executive presidency with sweeping powers.
The new system, which narrowly passed in a constitutional referendum in April 2017, will abolish the prime minister’s post.
For President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, installing an executive presidency has been his years-long ambition and he has now staked his career on it.
A united and resurgent opposition has threatened Erdogan’s dominance and is aiming to at least force a run-off vote on July 8.
The biggest threat is posed by Muharrem Ince of the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Nearly 60 million Turks are eligible to vote for 600 parliamentary seats, where the alliance led by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is likely to emerge as the strongest force.
However, if the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) crosses the 10 per cent hurdle, the AKP alliance may lose its absolute majority in parliament.