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Expats vote early in Turkey's election

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Expats vote early in Turkey's election

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Turkey goes to the polls on June 24th, but the estimated three and a half million expatriates living abroad are aleady able to vote.

According to a survey by pollster Gezici, President Tayyip Erdogan is likely to fall short of a first-round victory and his ruling AK Party is forecast to lose its parliamentary majority.

Erdogan called the snap elections in April, more than a year early, saying Turkey needs to switch to a powerful presidency model to tackle economic and security challenges. The new presidential powers were narrowly approved last year.

Gezici’s survey of 6,811 respondents, conducted between May 25-26, showed Erdogan receiving 48.7 percent of votes in the first round of presidential election, with the main opposition candidate, Muharrem Ince, getting 25.8 percent.

Erdogan and Ince were followed by Meral Aksener, a former interior minister who founded the Iyi Party last year after being sacked from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has entered an election alliance with the AK Party. Aksener was seen getting 14.4 percent of votes, Gezici’s poll showed.

The jailed candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, has 10.1 percent support, the poll showed.

Even though he is campaigning from behind bars, Demirtas, one of Turkey’s best-known politicians, is expected to boost his party’s chances of overcoming a 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.

The elections will herald Turkey’s switch to the new presidency championed by Erdogan.

But an ailing economy and a deteriorating record on human rights and freedoms after a 2016 coup attempt have led to a shift of sentiment in voters, the poll showed.