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Everything you need to know about Turkey’s June 24 elections

On Sunday, Millions of Turkish voters will head to polls to cast their ballots in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections being held on June 24. The elections were initially scheduled to take place in November 2019 but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced early elections following a meeting with the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, who made the first call to move up the polls.

Turkish citizens will cast their votes on June 24 in the parliamentary and presidential elections, which are to cement the switch from a parliamentary to a presidential system.

On April 16, 2017, Turkey held a referendum during which the majority of voters decided in favor of an 18-article bill introducing the governmental system change.

The elections were initially scheduled to take place in November 2019 but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced early elections following a meeting with the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, who made the first call to move up the polls.

- NEW SYSTEM
Under the constitutional reform, the number of lawmakers in the parliament will rise from 550 to 600, the presidential and the parliamentary elections will be held after every five years and the elected president will not be bound to cut ties with his or her party.

Vice presidents and ministers can be appointed and removed by the president.

The president is given the right to issue a presidential decree.

The parliament can decide on re-election with a three-fifths majority. The president is limited to two terms but if three fifths of the parliament call for re-election, the current president can seek a third term.

In the new system, citizens over 18 years of age are able to run for parliament, down from 25.

If no presidential candidate can obtain an absolute majority of votes, a run-off between the top two candidates will be held on Sunday July 8.

- PARTIES IN THE RUNNING
The Supreme Court of Election (YSK) announced that eight political parties were participating in the early parliamentary elections: the Justice and Development (AK) Party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the Free Cause (Huda-Par) Party, the newly formed Good (IYI) Party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Felicity (Saadet) Party and the Patriotic (Vatan) Party.

For the first time in Turkish history, political parties will go to elections by forming alliances.

Turkey's ruling AK Party and the MHP have formed an alliance (People's Alliance) while the CHP, the IYI Party, and the Felicity Party have constituted another (Nation Alliance).

A bill, submitted by the ruling AK Party and the MHP in February, stated that a political party could back another during elections.

In general elections, a political party must receive 10 percent of the votes nationwide for any of its candidates to win a seat in parliament. Now, only the alliance needs to pass the 10-percent threshold in order for the parties to claim seats in parliament.

Ballots will bear the name of the alliance juxtaposed to that of the candidates whose parties have decided to proceed with forging an alliance.

Meanwhile, six candidates are seeking to become president, according to the official list of the Supreme Board of Election.

- PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan , 64 -- Turkey's first popularly elected president -- has served since 2014. Previously. he was prime minister from 2003 to 2014.

Erdoğan has vowed to turn the country into a high-income nation, become a leading exporting country and increase the female labor force participation rate, among other pledges.

Muharrem İnce, 54, a former physics teacher, has been a CHP lawmaker of his hometown Yalova province since 2002.

He served as the party's parliamentary group deputy chairman between 2010 and 2014. He once ran against the main opposition party's chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for party leadership but lost.

A peaceful and security-oriented foreign policy, an economy based on production and fair distribution, a parliamentary system based on the separation of powers are some of İnce's pledges.

Meral Akşener, 61, a former interior minister and vice-speaker of parliament, was expelled from the MHP in 2016 after she led an opposition movement against party leader Devlet Bahçeli.

In 2017, she founded the Good (IYI) Party.

Boosting the economy and returning to a parliamentary system are among her campaign promises.

Selahattin Demirtaş, 45, co-chaired the HDP between 2014 and 2018. He is currently imprisoned over accusations of being linked to the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU.

In November 2016, Demirtaş along with 12 HDP lawmakers, were arrested on terror-related charges. Demirtaş remains in custody pending trial.

If elected, he pledges to share president's power with parliament, to adopt an economic approach that prioritizes social needs. He also promises an inclusive parliamentary system.

Doğu Perinçek of the left-wing nationalist Patriotic Party and Temel Karamollaoğlu of the Felicity Party are also running for president.

- OVER 3 MILLION TO VOTE ABROAD
The Supreme Election Board said 59,39 million people, including over 3 million abroad, will vote in the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Turkish citizens living abroad casted ballots in a 13-day period between June 7-19.

Balloting at customs gates also began on June 7, and will continue through June 24, Election Day.

A total of 3,160 ballot boxes were set up in these 123 foreign missions of Turkey.

Some 180,065 ballot boxes will be set up in 81 provinces of Turkey.

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