August presidential election campaign kickstarts next Friday

The presidential poll will be the centerpiece of a busy election schedule in between March's local elections and a general election in July next year.

The presidential poll will be the centerpiece of a busy election schedule in between March's local elections and a general election in July next year.

ANKARA - The three candidates in the race to become Turkish president will begin their month long campaign next Friday, the first time the Turkish public will be able to vote for its president .

Current Prime Minister Erdogan, 60, is ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party candidate.

The candidate from the two opposition parties -- the Republican People’s Party, (CHP), and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) -- is 71-year-old former head of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

Selahattin Demirtas, 41, is the left-wing opposition Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) candidate.

The first round of elections is scheduled for August 10 and the public campaign will continue until August 9. Should none of the candidates takes more than 50 per cent and a second round takes place on August 24, the campaigns will be extended between August 11 and 23.

 Turkish citizens living abroad will be able to participate in the elections for the first time.  

Candidates will be able to conduct their campaign in the Turkish press and on their websites. Any poll predicting in the last ten days by the candidates is not allowed. 

Propaganda materials such as banners, flyers or brocures containing any religious content or Turkish flag are banned. Other than propaganda materials, neither parties nor candidates will be able to distribute any gifts or samples.

Candidates will be able to receive up to 9,000 Turkish liras -- nearly $4000 -- from each donor for the electoral campaign, Turkey's elections authority  Supreme Election Board also announced.

Only Turkish citizens will be able to donate, while foreigners, international institutions and legal persons will not have such a right.

Candidates will only be able to use financial aid and the money should be put into a bank account titled “elections account” and reported to the board in advance.

The money received as aid could only be spent for electoral campaigns.

The candidates are required to declare their financial status to the board for any personal wealth or property worth more than 32 thousand Turkish liras -- nearly 15,000 dollars.

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