Demirtas, Kurdish presidential candidate for Turkey, casts vote in prison

Opposition HDP's candidate ran a campaign from behind bars where his rival, incumbent President Erdogan's administration holds him since 2016.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Selahattin Demirtas, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) candidate for president of Turkey, cast his vote behind bars during the country's presidential and general elections on Sunday.

"We voted in prison. I hope everyone heading to the polls votes in favor of democracy for the sake of the county's future. I hope the voting process take place in peace and tranquility. I believe results will be very positive," Demirtas tweeted via his lawyers.

Accompanying the post was a picture of him alongside another jailed Kurdish lawmaker, Abdullah Zeydan, both in white shirts and smiling at the camera with their backs to a prison wall.

It was not immediately clear if the picture was taken before or on election day.

That is a first time in modern Turkish history and the current world that a candidate is vying for votes to get the country's highest office while in jail.

Demirtas ran an election campaign behind bars in the Edirne Province, on the border with European Union, where his rival, incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration has detained him since late 2016.

His wife, Basak Demirtas, went to a local polling station in the unofficial Kurdish capital of Diyarbakir, some 1700 kilometers (1050 miles) southeast of Edirne.

Prosecutors ask up to 142 years for charges of "terrorism and separatism" over the prominent Kurdish politician's past speeches.

Erdogan has blasted Turkey's supreme electoral board for allowing Demirtas to run in the elections, though there is no legal obstacle to the latter's nomination as he has not been convicted of any crime.

Demirtas, the main Turkish opposition People's Republican Party's (CHP) Muharrem Ince, and three other candidates need to deny Erdogan fifty percent of the popular vote to force him to a run-off on July 8.

In the 2014 presidential elections, in which people of Turkey for the first time directly elected the head of the state, Demirtas garnered the support of 9.8 percent of voters.

Editing by Nadia Riva