| 31.03,19. 07:06 PM |
Voting begins in Turkey’s local elections
Polling in Turkey’s local elections began on Sunday, with 57 million registered voters expected to cast their ballots in the country's 81 provinces.
Voting started at 7.00 a.m local time (0400GMT) and will continue through 4.00 p.m. local time (1300GMT) in 32 out of Turkey’s 81 provinces.
In the remaining provinces, polling stations will open at 8.00 a.m and close at 5.00 p.m. local time (0500-1400GMT).
Voters living in Turkey’s larger cities will vote to elect a mayor for the entire city, as well as district municipal mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighborhood officials), and members of elder councils.
The voters will choose from 12 political parties competing in the local elections.
More than 44 million citizens are expected to vote at 142,777 polling places in 30 biggest cities, called metropolitan municipalities.
Meanwhile, 12.8 million voters will vote at 51,851 polling places across 51 provinces in Turkey.
Turkey is holding its first local elections under the new presidential system, adopted in the April 2017 referendum.
The previous local elections were held in 2014.
The major competing parties are the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Good (IYI) Party, and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Also taking part are the Independent Turkey Party (BTP), Grand Unity Party (BBP), Democrat Party (DP), Democratic Left Party (DSP), Saadet (Felicity) Party, Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), and Patriotic (Vatan) Party.
Some political parties -- including the ruling AK Party -- announced alliances in some cities.
In the People's Alliance (Cumhur Ittifaki), the AK Party and MHP agreed to support each other’s candidates in 30 metropolitan municipalities and 51 provinces.
The opposition has formed the The Nation's Alliance (Millet Ittifaki), which brings the CHP and IYI Party together to support each other’s candidates in 22 out of 30 metropolitan municipalities.
The CHP nominated 12 candidates and agreed to support 10 IYI Party candidates in metropolitan municipalities.
The parties reached consensus in 27 out of 51 provinces.
Election broadcast ban
Election campaigns ended and a broadcast ban entered into force on Saturday in Turkey, as the country heads to local elections on Sunday.
According to the ban imposed by the Supreme Election Council (YSK), media organizations will not be allowed to broadcast any political advertising, predictions or comments about the polls from 6 p.m. local time (1500GMT) until 9 p.m. (1800GMT) on Sunday.
The YSK reserves the right to lift the broadcasting bans before 9 p.m. on Sunday.