Voting has begun in Turkish local elections with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK party favourite to win.
Despite rising unemployment and an economy hit by the global economic crisis most opinion polls put the Islamist rooted AKP in front with around 40 percent of the vote. The local election is widely seen as a referendum on Erdogan and Turkey’s popular premier has been campaigning hard ahead of Sunday’s ballot. Erdogan has pledged to reform the country’s constitution as he seeks to remove obstacles to EU entry. But, Turkey’s opposition, who accuse Erdogan of pursuing an Islamist agenda, are also out to regain power having been crushed by the AKP in 2002. On Friday, Erdogan said he would consider it a failure if his party won less than the 47 percent of the country’s provincial assemblies.