With almost all votes counted, Erdogan’s defeat in local elections becomes completely clear

With almost all votes counted, Erdogan’s defeat in local elections becomes completely clear
With almost all votes counted, Erdogan’s defeat in local elections becomes completely clear
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party fared poorly in Sunday’s local elections. With 99.8 percent of the votes counted, the opposition CHP party is at 37.7 percent and Erdogan’s ruling party AKP is at 35.5 percent. In the previous local elections in 2019, the AKP won with almost 45 percent of the votes.

The opposition is doing well, especially in the cities. In Istanbul, the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) leads with 51.1 percent of the votes. Erdogan’s party follows with 39.6 percent. In the capital Ankara the difference is even greater, with 60.4 percent for the CHP compared to 31.7 percent for the AKP.

In those two cities the opposition was already in power, but the gains were greater than five years ago. In Istanbul, incumbent CHP mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu claimed victory on Sunday night. In Ankara, Mayor Mansur Yavas did the same, also in front of a large crowd of supporters.

Other major cities are also going to the CHP, the party founded at the time by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the ‘father’ of modern post-Ottoman Turkey. These include Izmir, the country’s third largest city and a CHP stronghold, as well as Adana and Antalya. The party even wins Bursa, a city that is considered a conservative stronghold.

The CHP even won elections for local councils in Anatolia’s rural provinces, which until now had been controlled by Erdogan’s conservative-religious Justice and Development Party.

Turning point

Erdogan called the election results a turning point for his party. “Unfortunately, we did not achieve the results we had hoped for,” the president told a crowd in Ankara.

“Voters appear to have punished his party and candidates in the local elections for economic hardship,” said analyst Emre Peker, Europe manager at Eurasia Group. “Erdogan is no longer immune to voters’ concerns about the economy, concerns he recently dodged in the May 2023 presidential elections.” The country is struggling with sky-high inflation, among other things.

AKP’s defeat can also be partly attributed to the decision of the Islamist conservative New Prosperity Party to go to voters with its own candidates. This ended the alliance with AKP.

For Ekrem Imamoğlu, the path to an extended stay in Istanbul City Hall is not yet completely open. He is accused of insulting members of the Supreme Electoral Council. For this he could be banned from taking up a mandate.

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