Turkish voters go to polls in critical municipal elections

Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate for Istanbul from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), creates a heart with his hands during a campaign stop in Istanbul, Friday, March 29, 2019, ahead of local elections scheduled for March 31, 2019. AP

ISTANBUL – Voters in Turkey began casting ballots in Sunday’s municipal elections, which are seen as a barometer of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity amid a sharp economic downturn in the nation that straddles Europe and Asia.

More than 57 million eligible voters are making choices in 200,000 polling stations across the country to elect the mayors for 30 large metropolitan cities, 51 provincial capitals and 922 districts. They are also voting to elect local assembly representatives as well as tens of thousands of neighborhood or village administrators.

Erdogan’s past electoral successes have been based on economic prosperity, but with a weakening currency, inflation at double-digit figures and food prices soaring, his conservative, Islamic-based ruling party could lose control of key mayoral seats. (AP)


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