Investors feeling the jitters ahead of Turkish election

Investors feeling the jitters ahead of Turkish election

Presidency in Turkey was once a ceremonial position, but after today's election will become a position of significant power.

Erdogan has at times seemed on the defensive, making promises to lift the state of emergency imposed after the coup bid and ensuring the 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey go home only after similar pledges by Ince.

Erdogan needs at least 50% of the vote to win in the first-round presidential poll on June 24.

Six candidates are running for president: Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the People's Alliance (Cumhur Ittifaki), formed by Turkey's governing AK Party and the MHP, Muharrem Ince for CHP, Selahattin Demirtas for HDP, Meral Aksener for the Good (IYI) Party, Temel Karamollaoglu for the Felicity (Saadet) Party, and Dogu Perincek for the Patriotic (Vatan) Party.

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attend an election rally in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2018.

A woman casts her ballot at a school in Istanbul.

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If he does not achieve half the votes or more, the presidential election will move to a second bout.

Mr Erdogan called snap elections more than a year ahead of schedule, in a bid to usher in an executive presidency with sweeping powers. Religiously observant Muslims form the bedrock of Erdogan's support. Almost 60 million Turks are eligible to vote, out of a total population of 81 million.

But both these goals are in doubt in the face of an energetic campaign by his rival from the secular Republican People's Party (CHP), Muharrem Ince, who has mobilized hundreds of thousands in mega rallies, and a strong opposition alliance in the legislative polls. There were reports of a scuffle at the polling station in Suruc and voting was briefly halted there.

"We urge the authorities to take action against the collective and open stuffing of ballot boxes", the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said on Twitter. Demirtas denies any wrongdoing, saying his imprisonment is politically motivated so Erdogan's government can stay in power. If that happens it could cost Erdogan's AKP and its nationalist ally in the "People Alliance" dozens of seats - leading it to lose its parliamentary majority.

The observers will prepare a report by monitoring the campaigning process, on election participation and on whether global election standards were upheld. Election monitors criticized Turkey for denying entry to two monitors who Turkey accused of being politically biased.

Voting already closed last week for Turkish citizens resident overseas, with just under 1.5 million out of just over 3 million registered voters casting their ballot, a turnout of just under 49 percent.