The polls are open in Turkey and the country is set for what is seen as a crucial general election. More than 42 million people are choosing between 14 parties. The ruling AK Party is expected to win but with a reduced majority well short of the two thirds needed to change the constitution.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan can count on a good economic record. But the AKP has been accused of trying to introduce its Islamist ideas into Turkey’s secular system. The centre-left CHP is one of two main opposition parties aiming for a 10 percent vote share needed to enter Parliament. The CHP wants religion kept separate from politics and has made allegations of corruption against Erdogan in the run-up to voting.
Then there is the right-wing nationalist MHP. It is opposed to closer links with the European Union and wants hard-line action to be taken against separatist Kurds, in the wake of recent rebel attacks. These early elections were forced by the AK Party’s secular critics. If they can achieve at the very least their 10 percent targets, they may form an unlikely alliance to continue to thwart the AKP and its proposed reforms.