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Turkey's ruling party takes early lead in local elections

Posted on Mar 31 2014 | IANS

Ankara, March 31 : Preliminary results of Turkey's local elections showed Sunday the country's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) party taking strong lead in the polls after over 40 percent of the votes were counted, local media reported.

The early results showed that the AKP garnered 46.5 per cent of the votes for the provincial assemblies nationwide, reported Xinhua citing local media. The ruling party received 39.1 per cent of the votes in the local elections in 2009.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) received 28 percent, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) grasped 14.7 per cent, pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) obtained 4.9 per cent, according to the report.

The AKP is far leading in the largest city of Istanbul and the capital of Ankara, AKP Spokesman Huseyin Celik told reporters.

However, Mansur Yavas, CHP's candidate mayor for Ankara, has declared victory over incumbent mayor Melih Gokcek from the ruling AKP, saying that he received almost 50 percent of votes.

AKP has claimed victory in Istanbul, as the party's provincial chair Aziz Babuscu said incumbent mayor Kadir Topbas would continue his term.

The Higher Election Board (YSK) has announced that a total of 52,695,831 people are eligible for voting at 177,044 polling stations in 81 provinces throughout Turkey.

The voting started at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) in eastern provinces of Turkey and ended at 4 p.m. (1400 GMT). In the western part of the country voting is between 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) and 5 p.m. (1500 GMT).

Twenty-six parties, including the ruling AKP, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party, are competing in the local elections.

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