Turkey votes for its next president today

Turkish mainlanders go to the polls today to vote for their next president, ‘Hurriyet’ reports.

Around 53 million people will go to the ballot box across the country, [voting is mandatory in Turkey] to elect its president, for the first time in its history. However, the number of ex-pats who, in another first, were able to vote outside the country, was disappointingly low.

The three candidates, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has ruled the country for 12 years as prime minister, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the former head of Organization of Islamic Cooperation and a joint candidate of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş are calling on their supporters to vote. A second round will be held 24th August if no candidate manages to achieve more than 50% of the votes.

The new president will serve a five-year term and has the right to stand for another stint in office. Meanwhile the outgoing President Abdullah Gül’s tenure will end on 28th August.

The ballots will have photos and the names of the three candidates, while voting is expected to last from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If Erdoğan is elected as president, speculation will turn as to who will replace him as Turkey’s prime minister.

The CHP has also launched a large campaign to oversee the elections with a network backed by an SMS line. Party officials will compare the results via using the cb2014.chp.org.tr online system and can send the voting totals at all ballot boxes to 2977, free of charge. The party also launched another online system, sts.chp.org.tr, for all citizens to check the results at their ballot boxes.

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