【黄大仙特马话今年今期_黄大仙特马话今年今期官网】Municipal votes underway in Turkey amid growing economic concerns

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ISTANBUL, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Turkish voters are heading to polling stations on Sunday for local elections, as concerns are growing about high inflation and fluctuations in exchange rates.

Voting began respectively at 7 a.m. (080 GMT) in eastern Turkey and at 8 a.m. in the rest of the country, and it ends at 4 p.m. in the east and 5 p.m. in the west.

More than 57 million Turks in 81 provinces, with more than 10 million in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul, are eligible to vote for mayors, neighborhood heads and members of local councils, according to the latest figures.

Dominating the elections are two alliances, namely the People's Alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party and its nationalist ally the Nationalist Movement Party, and the Nation Alliance between the main opposition Republican People's Party and the Good Party.

Voting is going on in Istanbul under heavy security measures both on the ground and on the seas.

The Istanbul governor's office said in a statement that over 45,000 security personnel are on duty across the city, with four helicopters patrolling over the sky.

Additionally, 12 coast guard boats are on guard on the Marmara Sea, the Black Sea and the Bosphorus Strait, the statement added.

For voters waiting in line at a polling station in the Besiktas district, their main concern is the growing cost of living and inflation rate.

"Did you see the latest prices in the markets of some basic foods?" a woman in her 80s asked her neighbor.

"Several months ago, I spent 80 Turkish liras for some poultry pieces, milk and some vegetables, but now it almost doubles," she said.

A man replied that he cannot afford the rent and some basic expenses anymore with his salary.

Turkey has been struggling with a high inflation rate, which stood at 19.6 percent in February, soaring prices in essential goods and high fluctuations in exchange rates.

"In reality, the prices are much higher than the official inflation rate," said another voter in the queue, who opined that there is at least a 40-percent increase in costs compared with six months ago.

In August 2018, the Turkish lira hit a record low against the U.S. dollar, losing nearly 80 percent in value.

The lira rebounded to around 5.58 against the dollar on the election day, after sliding to over 5.80 over the past days.