Voting begins in Turkish parliamentary elections

July 22, 2007 08:50

Turks voted Sunday for a new parliament that will face a host of challenges: a presidential election, violence by Kurdish rebels and a growing divide over the role of Islam in society. Sunday's election was called early to defuse a political crisis over the Islamic-oriented ruling party's choice of presidential candidate, and the three-month campaign has been peaceful. The first of 160,000 polling stations opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) in 32 eastern provinces, and polls were to open in the rest of the country an hour later. Campaigning was prohibited on Sunday. Fourteen parties and 700 independent candidates were competing for a total of 42.5 million eligible voters.

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