Elections in Turkey, polling stations open and 64 million citizens to vote

Polling stations open from 8 (7 in Italy) to 17 (16 in Italy) in Turkey for the parliamentary and presidential elections. Including the number of residents abroad, there are a total of over 64.1 million people entitled to vote and all Turkish citizens aged 18 or over can vote. The incumbent head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan is among the presidential candidates and the other two are Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who leads an alliance made up of various opposition parties, and Sinan Ogan who leads an alliance of smaller parties. Muharrem Ince, another of the candidates, withdrew from the race in recent days.

The voting system and turnout abroad

The members of the parliamentary assembly, made up of 600 deputies, are chosen through a proportional system in which those entitled vote for a party, not for a candidate, and to enter parliament a political formation must exceed the threshold of 7% of the preferences or be part of an alliance that surpasses it. In these elections it will be possible to choose between 36 different parties. To become president, a candidate must instead pass the threshold of 50% of the votes otherwise there will be a second round, possibly scheduled for May 28. According to data released by the Ministry of the Interior, the Syrian citizens who moved to Turkey following the beginning of the civil conflict in Syria in 2011 and, after obtaining citizenship, have the right to vote are just under 131 thousand people. The voting operations for Turkish citizens residing abroad ended on 9 May in the countries where they reside and, out of the 3,416,000 eligible voters, 1,691,000 people voted in 74 different states and another 125,000 were able to express their their preferences at border crossings, bringing the total number of voters to around 1,817,000 people, which corresponds to 53.18% of eligible voters, a record turnout for residents abroad which had stopped at the last consultations in 2018 to 50.9% of those entitled. Voting at border crossings will also be possible today.

The latest polls

These elections could mark the end of an era in Turkey: 72 hours after polling stations opened, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been overtaken by the opposition. At least according to the photograph taken by the latest polls which for weeks had recorded a head-to-head with the main challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and which showed the candidate of the main opposition parties with a clear advantage in the data collected by two of the most well-known opinion poll institutes in the country . According to Metropoll, Erdogan can count on 46.9% of the preferences against 49.1% for Kilicdaroglu. While in the data collected by Konda between 6 and 7 May, out of a sample of 3,480 people, the current Turkish president is firm at 43.7% and his challenger at 49.3% of the preferences, a breath below the threshold of 50% needed to win the first round of the presidential elections.