A voter casts his ballot at a polling station in Ankara, Turkey, on June 7, 2015. Turkish voters started to cast their ballots for elect the 550 parliament members Sunday as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) looks to a fourth consecutive election win. (Xinhua/Zou Le)
ANKARA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Turkish voters started to cast their ballots for elect the 550 parliament members Sunday as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) looks to a fourth consecutive election win.
Voting began at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will end at 5 p.m.(1400 GMT).
More than 53.7 million Turks are estimated to cast their ballots during the day to elect a new parliament and voting results are expected to come out late Sunday night.
A total of 20 political parties are running in the elections with 9,861 candidates, plus 165 independent candidates, who represent 85 constituencies in 81 provinces for a four-year term in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
The AKP has been trying to win more than 367 seats in the parliament, a two-third majority needed to single-handedly push through a new constitution for the exchange of the parliamentary system to the presidential system sponsored by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Latest polls showed the AKP was heading toward a lead in the elections. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) was expected to get 25 to 28 percent.
In the last general elections in 2011, the AKP took 311 parliamentary seats, or 49.83 percent of the vote, followed by the CHP with 125 seats, or 25.98 percent. The MHP got 52 seats, or 13.01 percent of the vote.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP)'s votes barely exceeded the 10 percent threshold to enter the parliament.
The elections have been considered as historic by Turkish people as the AKP and its former leader Erdogan seek to change the constitution in favor of the presidential system.
But opposition parties try to thwart the efforts by the AKP, claiming that the change from the parliament system to the presidential system will damage democracy in the country.
Turkey is ruled by the parliamentary system since the formation of the republic in 1924. The role of the president is largely symbolic until Erdogan's presidential term started almost a year ago.
In order to have enough power either to change the constitution or to go to referendum, the AKP must take at least 330 seats in the parliament.
However the latest polls show that the AKP has lost a sheer majority in the parliament and the party's votes fell down to around 40 percent. the party won almost 50 percent of the vote in 2011 general elections.
Interior Minister Sebahattin Ozturk has said that the country would maintain high security on the day with 404,000 security personnel, including 300,000 police officers.
ANKARA, June 7 (Xinhua) -- More than 53 million Turks went to polls Sunday to elect a new parliament, with 20 political parties running for 550 parliamentary seats.
Parties must win at least 10 percent of the votes to earn seats in the parliament, or the Great National Assembly.Full Story
ANKARA, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Tight security measures ahead of Turkey's national elections slated for Sunday have become much more pressing in the aftermath of a bombing that took place late on Friday, killing four people and wounding over 100 others, during an election rally in mainly Kurdish province of Diyarbakir of southeastern Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the government has taken all necessary measures to insure safety and security in the parliamentary elections, and asked everybody to stay vigil against threats.Full Story