News / Europe

Turkey Holds Parliament Elections

A Turkish woman prepares to cast her vote at a polling station in Ankara, Turkey, June 12, 2011
A Turkish woman prepares to cast her vote at a polling station in Ankara, Turkey, June 12, 2011
Dorian Jones

Voters in Turkey are going to the polls today, and with the country enjoying record economic growth the prime minister is expected to win a third term in office by a comfortable majority. It is the magnitude of the expected victory that is seen as important.

With opinion polls pointing to a comfortable victory for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, he looked relaxed as he cast his vote in Istanbul.  

With economic growth at nearly nine percent Erdogan is standing a for third term on his economic record. Since he came to power in 2002, Turkey has been transformed from sick man of Europe to economic tiger. That success is why this voter said he voted for the prime minister.

He says the ruling party has done things the Turkish republic has never seen before; modernized the country, hospitals, roads, and schools.

While few observers doubt the outcome of the election, it is the margin of victory that is seen as crucial. Erdogan is seeking a two-thirds parliament majority, so he can replace the country's 1982 constitution that was written by Turkey's then military rulers.

But the main opposition, the secular People's Republican Party, says that is too much power. Under new leadership the opposition party has rejuvenated itself, from a pro-state party, to a center-left modern social democratic party.  

The party, known as CHP, fought the election on a platform of social reform and democracy, accusing the prime minister of increasing authoritarianism, as well as raising concerns about the ruling party's Islamic roots. And that appears to have a struck a chord among increasing numbers of voters, like this woman

She says she is voting for the CHP, against the oppressive methods of the ruling party.  She adds, it is a very important election as it will determine the future of the country, and says Turkey needs political balance

While the opposition is expected to come up short in the election, observer say it still may do well enough to curtail the prime minister's constitutional aspirations.

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