Turkish PM votes in general elections in Istanbul (3)

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)

The main opposition CHP, a center-of-left party and the party of the founder of the Republic of Turkey Kemal Ataturk, are voicing strong opposition against the AKP in terms of democratic credentials and attitudes towards secularism. They are social democratic in nature, free market oriented, pro-Western and pro-EU.

The CHP has drawn attention to youth unemployment, which stands at 20 percent, almost double the national joblessness rate, and even higher for university graduates. It said job creation programs for young people are the "main axis" of its plans to cut unemployment to six percent.

The CHP has changed its leader last May after the previous chief had to resign because of a sex tape scandal. Its new leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is called "Gandhi Kemal" in public because of his quiet, patient and calm attitude, seems to increase the party's votes to 30 percent from 20 percent.

Latest parliamentary elections took place on July 22, 2007. AKP won 2007 elections after receiving 46.5 percent of national votes and collecting 341 seats in the 550-member parliament. CHP came the second, winning 20.8 percent of votes and 112 seats in the parliament, while MHP collected 14.3 percent of votes and 71 seats.

Source: Xinhua

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