Turks vote in local elections; 2 dead, dozens wounded in fights

March 29, 2009 15:14

Turks were voting Sunday in local elections that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes will strengthen his party's hand in pushing for constitutional reforms. Some 48 million people are voting to elect mayors and district administrators in 81 provinces. Voting was running smoothly but two separate fights between rival political groups in southeast Turkey left two dead and dozens wounded, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported. Opinion polls indicate Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party will secure most votes following tensions with the military-backed secularists that had long dominated politics. Last year, Erdogan's party narrowly escaped being disbanded on charges of challenging Turkey's secular constitution.

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