More than 55 million Turkish citizens began casting votes across the country on Sunday in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
There are 56,322,632 registered voters and 180,065 ballot boxes across Turkey. Voting is scheduled to begin at 8.00 a.m. (0500GMT) and end at 5.00 p.m. local time (1500GMT).
For the first time in Turkish history, political parties run in the elections by forming electoral alliances.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) formed an alliance dubbed the “People’s Alliance” while the Republican People's Party (CHP), İYİ (Good) Party and the Felicity Party have constituted another dubbed the “Nation’s Alliance.”
Video: Voting begins for presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey
Voters will cast two separate ballot papers in the same envelope, one for their presidential and one for their parliamentary choice.
After voting ends, ballots cast for the presidential candidates will be counted first.
Turkish expats cast vote abroad
Some 1.49 million expatriates voted in a 13-day period between June 7 and 19 at 123 Turkish missions abroad.
Expat votes were transported to Turkey by airmail and will be counted simultaneously as the votes cast in Turkey on Sunday. Balloting at customs gates also began on June 7 and will continue throughout election day.
Six candidates are running for president, while eight political parties are contending in the parliamentary elections.
In April, Parliament passed a bill calling for early elections on June 24, cementing Turkey’s move from a parliamentary to a presidential system. In an April 2017 referendum, Turkish voters approved the switch.
Under the changes, the number of lawmakers in parliament rises from 550 to 600, presidential and parliamentary elections will be held every five years, and presidents can retain ties to their political party. The prime minister post is also abolished.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has served as president since 2014, and is Turkey's first popularly-elected president. Before that, he served as prime minister from 2003 to 2014.
Erdoğan would be Turkey's first leader to rule under the presidential system should he win the election.