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Turkish PM claims victory in local elections

ANKARA, March. 31 — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday night claimed victory for his ruling party in the local elections as initial results showed the AKP swept around over 45 percent of the votes after about 80 percent of the ballots were counted, NTV channels reported.

Erdogan, chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party ( AKP), said that "this is a great victory and significant result."

He also thanked those who supported the ruling AKP in the local elections.

The early results showed that the AKP garnered 45.8 percent of the votes for the provincial assemblies nationwide, according to the report. The ruling party received 39.1 percent of the votes in the local elections in 2009 and 49.9 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections in 2011.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) received 28.4 percent, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) grasped 15.6 percent, pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) obtained 4.2 percent, 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. The party's provincial chair Aziz Babuscu said incumbent Istanbul 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.(PNA/Xinhua)

LAM/JSD

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