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Voting begins in Turkey's presidential polls

IANS 10 Aug 2014, 11:35:52 AM IST
London: Voting in Turkey's first ever presidential election is underway on Sunday, authorities said.

Three candidates are vying for the position; outgoing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, diplomat Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, the BBC reported.

If none of the candidates get above 50 percent of the votes, a second round will be held Aug 24.

Erdogan, 60, said he wanted to turn the largely ceremonial post of the president into the country's executive powerhouse.

He has been the prime minister since 2003 and is barred from standing for that office again.

Ihsanoglu, 71, is the joint candidate of the two main opposition parties in parliament, the centre-left Republican People's Party and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party.

He served as the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation from 2004-14.

Demirtas, 41, is a leader of the left-wing People's Democratic Party and a well-known politician from the Kurdish minority.

Polls opened at 8.00 a.m local time and will close at 5.00 p.m.