Published: Mon, April 01, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

President Erdogan's party LOSES mayoral race in Turkish capital

President Erdogan's party LOSES mayoral race in Turkish capital

Alliance led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP lost not only the capital Ankara to the CHP, but also Turkey's third biggest city Izmir on the Aegean coast.

Nationally, the President's AKP-led alliance won more than 51 per cent of the vote in the municipal election. "Therefore, the number of boxes votes will be recounted in is limited", he also said.

The ruling party accused Ankara mayoral candidate Yavas of forgery and tax evasion while also threatening to not accept results in the southeast if candidates with alleged "terror" links from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party -the second-largest opposition group in parliament - win there.

In the de facto Kurdish capital of Diyarbakir, HDP candidate for mayor got 63.2 percent of votes compared to 30.7 percent won by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) whose candidate was Cumali Atilla, a bureaucrat appointed by the Ankara government when it seized Kurdish municipalities two and a half years ago.

Early on Monday, Mr Erdogan said the party would appeal against results wherever needed.

Reuters reported that Erdogan's AK party lost control of the capital, Ankara, in local elections.

Turks are concerned about economic woes facing the country, including high inflation and fluctuations in exchange rates.

Erdogan, who began his own political career as Istanbul mayor, personally campaigned hard across Turkey, often with several rallies a day, even though he was not on the ballot.

Much of the AKP's success has been down to his perceived economic prowess, but days before the vote, the Turkish lira was sliding again, provoking memories of the 2018 currency crisis that badly hurt Turkish households.

Supporters of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) wave flags and light up torches to celebrate the local election in Istanbul.

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"Losing in Ankara and Antalya truly overshadowed tonight's victory", Demirci told MEE, as he followed the elections on his phone while sitting in a cafe in the famous Istiklal street in central Istanbul.

Yavas had been slightly ahead in some recent opinion polls before the election.

The polls posed a major challenge for Erdogan, given a backdrop of high inflation and rising unemployment sparked by a major currency crisis a year ago.

"These losses will harm his reputation as a good local politician".

"Turkey's regime now signals that it won't give up Istanbul, regardless of vote distribution", Timur Kuran, professor of economics and political science at Duke University, said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated Erdogan on "another important victory" in the Turkish local elections.

"Today's elections are as historic as that of 1994", prominent journalist Rusen Cakir tweeted, referring to the year Erdogan was elected mayor of Istanbul.

The Ottoman-era Blue Mosque and the sixth-century Byzantine monument of Hagia Sofia (Ayasofya) are seen in the old city as skyscrapers of the city's financial district stand in the background over the port of Istanbul June 1, 2007.

"We did not think that we would lose Ankara in this election", said Mehmet Akcam, 18. "We thank Istanbul's residents for the mandate they have given us", Yildirim told supporters as final tallies were arriving. Both the AKP and opposition candidates were claiming victory in Istanbul late on Sunday evening.

"I am afraid we. are not fully convinced that Turkey now has the free and fair electoral environment which is necessary for genuinely democratic elections in line with European values and principles", said Mr Andrew Dawson.

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