Turkish PM votes in general elections in Istanbul (2)

08:23, June 13, 2011      

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Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan speaks to reporters after casting his vote, in Istanbul, Turkey,on 12 June 2011. Voting for 550 parliamentary members in Turkey started Sunday morning as the country's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) looks to a third consecutive win in general elections. More than 50 million Turks are estimated to cast their ballots during the day to elect a new parliament and voting results are expected to come out late Sunday night. (Xinhua/Ma yan)

However, they noted, the ruling party will not reach the 367 threshold to pass the constitutional changes without taking it to a referendum.

The AKP, which has been in power since 2002, owns a largely conservative electorate and has a pro-business and pro-European Union (EU) platform.

In addition to seeking support from a mass majority of conservatives in the country, they have secured support from political liberals due to the reforms they undertook in hopes of gaining Turkey's access into the EU.

Analyst Ergun Babahan from Star newspaper said the reason for the AKP's possible winning of the third term is mainly its economic success and popularity among the people.

The favorable economic performance under the AKP government in nearly a decade is the central pillar of its campaign for re- election. Turkey has shrugged off the global financial crisis to become the world's 17th largest economy with growth last year of 8. 9 percent.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to give its citizens more freedom and democracy by rewriting the constitution on one hand and on the other promised to build massive such as a new canal for Istanbul to allow ships to bypass the Bosphorus, as well as two new earthquake-proof cities for the region's ever-expanding population.

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