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Diaspora voting for Turkish presidency continues

The Turkish diaspora in various countries continue polling on Saturday for the first time and casting their ballots for Turkey's first directly-elected president. A low turnout caused disappointment due to the holiday season and an unpopular appointment system, while candidates held rallies across Europe to attract large crowds. A total of nearly 250,000 people out of Turkey's 2.7 million expat voters registered to cast their vote at embassies and consulates at 103 centers in 54 countries, according to Sadi Guven, the head of Turkey's High Election Board. In Australia's Melbourne, where around 10 percent of the 40 thousand voters showed up, electors faced problems as a result of changed appointment dates without prior notice and mismanagement. Yusuf Sayar, who voted in Melbourne, said his daughter was registered in another city, Canberra, although they reside altogether. Another Turkish national, Mustafa Latifoglu, told the Anadolu Agency he was returning without casting his vote because of an unforeseen change in his appointment date. The polls closed Saturday after three days of voting in the country. In the U.K., more than 3,600 registered Turks began casting their votes in the 57 ballot boxes in London.  The counsel general, Emirhan Yorulmazlar, said the voting continues without any problem and this opportunity reflects the trust of the Turkish republic on its diaspora. In Austria, where the presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a rally, more than 100 thousand voters will go to the polls on Saturday in three cities, Vienna, Salzburg and Bregenz.  In the gulf country of Qatar, more than two thousand people are expected to vote on a two-day polling. The Balkan country Macedonia is also hosting more than 1,400 Turkish nationals to cast their votes. The August 10 election will be the first time Turks have voted directly for their president; the head-of-state was previously selected by members of parliament. Some presidential candidates have held rallies earlier this year in several European countries to speak to potential voters, which make up nearly five percent of the whole electorate.

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