Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan takes early lead in local elections - reports

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Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party – the AKP has reportedly taken an early lead in the country’s local elections.

With more than 24 percent of the votes Turkish television has put the PM’s party ahead with between 44 and 48 percent of the vote.

Analysts see the ballot as a crisis referendum on Erdogan’s 10-year-rule.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu is the leader of the main opposition. His Republican People’s Party has portrayed the PM as a corrupt dictator.

The Islamist – rooted AK Party is aiming to equal or better its 2009 vote of 38.8 percent. A vote below the 36 percent mark would be considered a huge blow to Erdogan.

Reports claim electricity has been cut in several areas in Istanbul and dozens of towns while votes are being counted.