Turks go to polls in local elections
Voting began Sunday in Turkish local elections with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expecting to sweep most municipalities, reported dpa.
Whilst polls vary, the AKP is once again set to win a plurality of votes in the polls to elect mayors and municipal assembly across Turkey's 81 provinces.
A poll released this week by the A&G research company put the national vote of the AKP at 39.1 per cent, well ahead of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) with 26.8 per cent. A poll conducted by Konda research company found a similar gap between the two parties but put the AKP vote on 48.9 per cent, compared to the CHP's 33.1 percent.
The Konda poll put the strength of Turkey's third main party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) at 10.5 per cent.
Under Turkey's highly centralised political system the elections are seen as a test of national leaders. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the forefront of the AKP's election campaign. In the last six weeks of campaigning Erdogan has almost on a daily basis addressed rallies right across the country.
Other party leaders have also turned the election into a test of national strength, with news reports giving almost all coverage to the national leaders of parties rather than those actually running.
First results from the election are expected Sunday night.