First polls open in Turkish parliamentary election

June 12, 2011 07:08

ANKARA - The first polling stations opened in Turkey on Sunday in an election that is expected to see Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan win a third consecutive term and could give him a mandate to rewrite the constitution.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) in eastern Turkey and were scheduled to open at 8 a.m. in western regions, including the capital Ankara and the largest city and financial hub Istanbul.

Opinion polls have shown Erdogan's ruling AK Party set to win four more years of single-party rule, thanks to his success in creating one of the world's fastest-growing economies and ending decades of chaotic coalitions and army coups.

The only doubt was over the margin of victory. Erdogan needs more than a simple majority to be certain of pushing plans for a new constitution to replace one written in 1982, two years after a military coup.

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