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Feb 11 2019

All you need to know for Turkey’s local elections

Turkey’s state-run news outlet has prepared a thorough guide to the country’s mayoral and municipal elections on March 31.

A total 12 political parties are participating in Turkey’s local elections, which occur every five years. The major parties are the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Good (IYI) Party, and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Anadolu Agency reported on Sunday.

There is also the Independent Turkey Party (BTP), Grand Unity Party (BBP), Democrat Party (DP), Democratic Left Party (DSP), Saadet (Felicity) Party, Communal Democracy Party (TDP), and Patriotic (Vatan) Party.

Parties must submit their candidate lists to the election councils by 5 p.m. on Feb. 19. After evaluating the candidates, the election councils will release the final lists on March 3.

Voters can find the name and location of their polling station using the e-government online system.  Apart from exceptions, every voter will vote at the polling station where they are registered.

Voters living in Turkey’s larger cities, called metropolitan municipalities, will vote to elect a mayor for the entire city, as well as district municipal mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighborhood officials), and members of elder councils, according to Anadolu.

Turkey has 30 metropolitan municipalities, including the capital Ankara and Istanbul, along with Adana, Antalya, Aydin, Balikesir, Bursa, Denizli, Diyarbakir, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Izmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mersin, Mugla, Ordu, Sakarya, Samsun, Sanliurfa, Tekirdag, Trabzon, and Van.

In smaller cities, voters elect members of provincial general councils, mayors, city council members, and mukhtars and members of elder councils. Voters living in villages will elect members of provincial general councils, mukhtars, and members of elder councils.

White ballots will be used for electing metropolitan municipality mayors. Orange ballots are used for provincial general councils. Blue ballots are for municipal district mayors, and yellow is for city council members, said Anadolu.  

Polls will be open from 7.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. in 32 out of Turkey’s 81 provinces: Adiyaman, Agri, Artvin, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Gaziantep, Giresun, Gumushane, Hakkari, Kars, Malatya, Kahramanmaras, Mardin, Mus, Ordu, Rize, Siirt, Sivas, Trabzon, Tunceli, Sanliurfa, Van, Bayburt, Batman, Sirnak, Ardahan, Igdir. and Kilis.

In other provinces, polling stations will be open from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. local time.

Ballot counting will start immediately after voting ends in that district. In metropolitan municipalities, the counting process will start with ballots for metropolitan mayors, followed by district mayors, city councils, and mukhtars.