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France 24 | Ruling party leads, but fails to sweep local polls | France 24
Turkey's ruling AK Party is leading in local elections, but PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party failed to win the key Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, as well as the secularist stronghold of Izmir, amid a nationwide slide in support.

REUTERS - Turkey's ruling AK Party won local elections on Sunday but Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, hurt by a weak economy, fell short of a sweeping victory that would have smoothed the way for reforms in the EU candidate.


The AK Party was unable to win the city of Diyarbakir, the largest in the Kurdish southeast, and several other key cities, including Izmir. The secularist opposition also made inroads in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, and in the capital Ankara.


The vote, the first time the Islamist-rooted AK Party had suffered a slide in support since it swept to power in 2002, took place against a backdrop of record unemployment and a worsening economy. Turkey's once booming economy has been severely hit by the global economic crisis.

by Fran on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:08:44 PM EST
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