Home Business Economy & Politics Turkey’s first direct presidential election: Candidates hold final rallies

Turkey’s first direct presidential election: Candidates hold final rallies

Turkey’s first direct presidential election will be held on Sunday, August 10.

Candidate and current PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to hold his final rally in the central Anatolian city of Konya.

The post of president, previously chosen by parliament and largely ceremonial, is being put to a popular vote for the first time.


Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he wants to enhance presidential powers.

At his penultimate rally in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Friday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his supporters to “explode ballot boxes on Sunday and deal a democratic slap” to his political opponents.

Candidate and current PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to hold his final rally in the central Anatolian city of Konya

Candidate and current PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to hold his final rally in the central Anatolian city of Konya (photo AP)

With the clock ticking down to the end of campaigning, his two rivals also reached out to voters on Friday.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu visited the town of Soma, which in May was the scene of Turkey’s worst ever mining disaster.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s handling of the tragedy, in which 301 miners were killed, was widely criticized and he has steered clear of the area during his campaign.

Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas held the biggest rally of his campaign in Turkey’s largest Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Friday.

Tens of thousands of people waving Kurdish flags turned out to hear him speak.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, 71, is the joint candidate of the two main opposition parties, the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Selahattin Demirtas, 41, is a member of the left-wing People’s Democratic Party.

Correspondents say the election has become a referendum on Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamist-rooted politician whose support base lies in Turkey’s conservative, pious heartland.

The winner must get more than 50% of the vote.

If no candidate reaches this mark in the first round, a run-off will be held on August 24.

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