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Peaceful elections, high turnout signs of democracy in Turkey: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Officials begin the process of counting ballots after polls close during local elections in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 31, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

Iran has extended its congratulations to the Turkish government, nation and political parties over holding "successful" nationwide local elections, saying the peaceful polls and people's high turnout were signs of the rule of democracy in the country.

"There is no doubt that democracy in regional countries is the main guarantor of independence, security and stability in the region," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.

He wished welfare, prosperity and development for the Turkish government and nation following the elections.

Turks voted to elect mayors, city council members and other local officials on Sunday, in what the Turkish head of state had described as a matter of "survival" for the country and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has ruled Turkey for more than 16 years.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party suffered losses in the elections though, which have been construed as a sign that rising levels of unemployment and the backlash from last year's currency crisis are starting to take their toll on his years-long domination over Turkey's politics.

With 99 percent of the ballot boxes counted, Mansur Yavas, the candidate of the opposition alliance, was winning with 50.89 percent of the votes in the capital while the AKP was lagging behind with 47.06 percent, state-run Anadolu news agency reported, citing preliminary results.

According to media reports, the overall voter turnout in Turkey's general elections stood at almost 85 percent 

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