Home Business Economy & Politics Turkey election 2014: Polls open for first direct presidential election

Turkey election 2014: Polls open for first direct presidential election


Turkish people are voting in the country’s first ever direct presidential election.

Three candidates are vying for the position, including current PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

If none of the candidates gets above 50% of the vote, a second round will be held on August 24.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 60, says that if he wins he wants to turn the largely ceremonial post of president into the country’s executive powerhouse.

He has been prime minister since 2003 and is barred from standing for that office again.

Polls opened at 08:00 local time and close at 17:00.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's two rivals in Turkey’s presidential election are a little-known diplomat, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two rivals in Turkey’s presidential election are a little-known diplomat, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two rivals are a little-known diplomat, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas.

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

He served as the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation from 2004 to 2014.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has vowed to uphold the president’s traditional role, insisting it is not up to the head of state to be involved in day-to-day running of politics.

Selahattin Demirtas, 41, is a leader of the left-wing People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and a well-known politician from the Kurdish minority.

Correspondents say he has focused his campaign on championing the cause of the oppressed, the poor, the young and the working classes.

In his final rally in the city of Konya on Saturday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to raise Turkey’s democratic standards and economic record to create a “world leader and global power”.

Selahattin Demirtas held his final rally in the city of Izmir.

“We cannot build our union by accusing each other. Let’s show our colors at the ballot box tomorrow with our oppressed identities and faiths,” he said.

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