First polls open in Turkish parliamentary election

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 2:41 AM
First polls open in Turkish parliamentary election

ANKARA (Reuters) - The first polling stations opened in Turkey on Sunday in an election that is expected to see Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan win a third consecutive term and could give him a mandate to rewrite the constitution.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (12 a.m. ET) in eastern Turkey and were scheduled to open at 8 a.m. in western regions, including the capital Ankara and the largest city and financial hub Istanbul.

Opinion polls have shown Erdogan's ruling AK Party set to win four more years of single-party rule, thanks to his success in creating one of the world's fastest-growing economies and ending decades of chaotic coalitions and army coups.

The only doubt was over the margin of victory. Erdogan needs more than a simple majority to be certain of pushing plans for a new constitution to replace one written in 1982, two years after a military coup.

(Writing by Ibon Villelabeitia; Editing by Michael Roddy)