The vote in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary polls will be held simultaneously for the first time on Sunday, in line with last year’s constitutional changes that will transform the country’s parliamentary system into an executive presidential one.
The race will take place under a state of emergency that has been ongoing since a coup attempt against the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016.
Erdogan, who seeks to keep his seat with increased powers, and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) joined forces with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to create the People’s Alliance for the parliamentary election. Erdogan is the bloc’s joint presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, four opposition parties formed the Nation Alliance to challenge Erdogan and his party.
The bloc includes main opposition centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), the right-wing Good Party (IYI) and ultraconservative Felicity Party (SP), with backing from the minor centre-right Democrat Party (DP). They have individual candidates in the presidential race, who pledged to back each other in a potential second round.
The other significant party in the race is the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) with its imprisoned popular candidate Selahattin Demirtas.
Party leaders, members and volunteers have been campaigning hard in order to win more votes for their movements and candidates.
In the country’s commercial capital, Istanbul, the election fever has swept the city ahead of the crucial polls.