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Turkey set for parliamentary elections
Political campaigning ends ahead of Sunday's ballot, with more than 50 million people eligible to vote.
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2011 14:46
Turkish women rally in Istanbul on Saturday ahead of the deadline for political campaigning to end [Reuters]

Turkey's political parties have made their final appeals to voters ahead of parliamentary elections, as a deadline on campaigning came into force on Saturday evening.

More than 50 million Turks are eligible to vote on Sunday, with 550 seats in Turkey's National Assembly at stake.

Abdullah Gul, Turkey's president, on Friday urged citizens to turn out in force. "No one can pressure you, or keep you from voting," Gul said, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, whose Justice and Development Party (AKP) is seeking a third term, addressed supporters on Saturday in Istanbul, his home city, where he is standing as a candidate and will vote on Sunday. Erdogan formally wrapped up his campaign in eastern Turkey on Friday.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), ended his campaign in the western city of Izmir, while Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), arrived home in the southern province of Osmaniye.

Candidates from 15 parties, as well as many independent candidates, are standing for election in provinces across the country.

Turkish Elections: Party list

Fifteen parties will field candidates in Sunday's elections, according to Turkish electoral authorities. Independent candidates will also stand in many areas.

 
Justice and Development Party (AKP)
 Democrat Party (DP)
 
Republican People's Party (CHP)
 Labour Party (EMEP)
 Nation Party (MP)
 Liberal Democrat Party (LDP)
 Felicity Party (SP)
 Rights and Equality Party (HEPAR)
 People's Voice Party (HSP)
 Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)
 True Path Party (DYP)
 Turkish Communist Party (TKP)
 National Conservative Party (MMP)
 Grand Unity Party (BBP)
 Democratic Left Party (DSP)

Party leaders have been travelling the country for weeks, often addressing several rallies a day.

Political posters were painted over and flags and banners removed on Saturday afternoon, ahead of the enforcement of the ban.

The country's electoral board, the YSK, also restricts media reporting until 9pm (1800 GMT) on Sunday.

Alcohol ban

Other rules enforced by the YSK on voting day include a ban on alcohol from Sunday morning until Monday afternoon, according to the semi-official Anatolia News Agency.

Parties need to win at least a 10 per cent share of the national vote to be elected to parliament.

But this does not apply to independent candidates, such as those representing the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the country's southeast, where the population is predominantly Kurdish.

Istanbul, Turkey's main city, will be represented by 85 deputies in the new parliament, while Ankara, the capital, gets 31 seats. Many of Turkey's less populated provinces will be represented by a single deputy.

Seats are awarded on the basis of proportional representation, with each party gaining a number of seats in each district based on its share of the local vote.

Voting begins at 7am (0400 GMT) in eastern Turkey and 8am (0500 GMT) in the west. All polling stations will close at 5pm (1400 GMT). Turnout is usually high in Turkey. Almost 85 per cent of eligible voters participated in the last elections in 2007.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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