A picture shows a ballot at a polling station in Brussels on June 16, 2018 ahead of the presidential and general elections which will be held in Turkey on June 24, 2018. Photo: Nicolas Materlinck | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A week before Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections in the country, Turkish nationals in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq started to cast their ballots on Sunday.
Expats can vote at the consulate general in Erbil or the embassy in Baghdad.
In the Kurdistan Region's capital, people from Turkey only are able to vote on Sunday, Abid Ika, a representative from the HDP told Rudaw.
“Those parties running for the election could send their observers to voting sites,” he said, adding the HDP will have observers present.
The polls will stay open “from early in the morning until evening," revealed Ika.
In the Kurdistan Region 2,500 Turkish nationals are eligible to vote, Rudaw has learned. In other parts of Iraq, 800 are eligible.
More than 3 million people from Turkey are eligible to vote outside of the country in nearly 60 countries.
Turkish nationals in China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan began voting on Saturday and will continue to do so on Sunday, Turkey's state-run Anadolu agency reported.
Those living abroad have until Tuesday to vote at Turkish embassies and consulates. Voting at customs gates began started on June 7 and can until June 24 — when the polls will open within Turkey.
Eight parties are contending for seats in Turkey's Grand Assembly. It is currently controlled by the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The party's leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is the incumbent president.
In an ongoing state of emergency since the 2016 military coup, Erdogan tweeted via the AKP that Turkey has to consider its vulnerability to terrorism.
Its main opposition is the Republican People's Party (CHP).
Other opposition includes the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP).
HDP chose to run Selahattin Demirtas, a jailed Kurd, for president.
It was previously not possible for the president to also be the head of a party. This changed in 2017 following a constitutional referendum that passed by a 51-49 margin.
According to the changes, Turkey will shift from a parliamentary system of governance to a presidential one after the June 24th election and eliminate the role of the prime minister.
Missed anything? Rudaw English's coverage of Turkey's elections