A powerful blow was suffered by Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sunday’s local elections, with the ruling party losing the capital of Ankara and in danger of losing the economic center of the country, Istanbul.
The loss of two major cities in Turkey will be a clear setback for Erdogan and the AKP, his party (Justice and Development Party). Erdogan himself had voted in municipal elections calling the vote a struggle for Turkey’s survival, but the election has become a test for the AKP after the serious economic problems faced Turkey.
He lost Ankara, Smyrna, a thriller in Constantinople
The Turkish president suffered a heavy defeat in the local elections, losing Ankara after 25 years (the mayor ha been of his influence since 1994) and Smyrna (Izmir), two of Turkey’s largest cities. And the defeat is expected to be heavier depending on the outcome of the thriller that is in progress in Constantinople.
The candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul is ahead in the vote count against the candidate of President Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP, the head of the country’s High Election Board said on April 1.
Sadi Güven told reporters that the CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu had 4,159,650 votes and the AKP’s Binali Yıldırım had 4,131,761 votes.
Güven said: “So far a total of 31,102 ballot box results [in Istanbul] have been defined to the system, 84 ballot box results have not been completed because of objections.”
Earlier, two main rivals in the closely contested election for Istanbul Metropolitan Mayorship both have claimed to be the winner of the breathtaking race on March 31.
“We won elections in Istanbul,” Yıldırım said before midnight on March 31.
“We thank the people of Istanbul for handing in the duty to us,” he added.
However, his main contender Ekrem İmamoğlu rejected that claim.
CHP supporters celebrated İmamoğlu chanting on the streets in the early hours of April 1.
Meanwhile, AKP’s provincial chair Bayram Şenocak vowed to submit official objections against decisions of invalid votes.