Turkish election results: The opposition holds the main cities in a blow to Erdogan

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's main opposition party appears set to retain control of major cities in Sunday's local elections, preliminary results showed, in a major surprise to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had his sights set on regaining control of the country. Those cities. Regions.

With about 40% of the ballot boxes counted, current mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who belongs to the Republican People's Party, took the lead in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city and economic center, according to state broadcaster TRT. The results also indicated that Mansur Yavaş, the mayor of the capital, Ankara, seemed ready to retain his seat by a large margin.

The CHP appears to be leading in 36 out of Turkey's 81 provinces, according to preliminary results published by TRT.

Voting was considered a measure President Erdogan's popularity As he sought To regain control of major urban areas He lost to the opposition in the elections five years ago. The CHP's wins in Ankara and Istanbul in 2019 shattered Erdogan's aura of invincibility.

The main battleground for the 70-year-old Turkish president It was IstanbulIt is a city of 16 million people where he was born and raised and where he began his political career as mayor in 1994.

Analysts said the strong performance of Erdogan's ruling Islamist-oriented Justice and Development Party (AKP) is likely to increase his resolve to introduce a new constitution – one that reflects his conservative values ​​and allows him to rule after 2028 when his current term ends. .

For the opposition – divided and demoralized after defeat in last year's presidential and parliamentary elections – retaining Istanbul and Ankara would be a major boost and help re-mobilize supporters.

See also  A man dies after being gored by a bull at a Spanish festival

About 61 million people, including more than 1 million first-time voters, were eligible to cast their ballots for all major city municipalities, mayors and districts as well as district administrations.

Ankara Mayor and CHP candidate Mansur Yavaş votes at a polling station in Ankara, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Turkey holds local elections on Sunday that will decide who will control Istanbul and other major cities.  (AP Photo/Ali Onal)

Ankara Mayor and CHP candidate Mansur Yavaş votes at a polling station in Ankara, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Turkey holds local elections on Sunday that will decide who will control Istanbul and other major cities. (AP Photo/Ali Onal)

The participation rate was about 76%, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

About 594,000 security personnel are deployed across the country to ensure that voting runs smoothly. However, one person was killed and 11 others were injured in the city of Diyarbakir as a dispute over the election of a district director turned violent, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. At least six people were also injured in the fighting that broke out in neighboring Sanliurfa province.

“According to the data we obtained, it seems that our citizens’ trust and confidence in us has paid off,” Imamoglu said of the early results.

Imamoglu won about 50% of the vote in Istanbul, while AKP candidate Murat Kurum, a former urbanization and environment minister, received 41%, according to TRT. Opinion polls had indicated A close race between the two.

Election representatives count votes at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Turkey holds local elections on Sunday that will decide who will control Istanbul and other major cities.  (AP Photo/Emra Gurel)

Election representatives count votes at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Turkey holds local elections on Sunday that will decide who will control Istanbul and other major cities. (AP Photo/Emra Gurel)

Imamoglu – a popular figure described as a potential future rival to Erdogan – ran without the support of some of the parties that helped him win in 2019.

See also  Yaya Dilou: Chadian opposition leader killed in an exchange of fire

Both the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party and the nationalist Good Party have fielded their candidates in the race.

The six-party opposition coalition led by the CHP disintegrated after failing to oust Erdogan in last year's elections, and was unable to capitalize on the economic crisis and the government's initially weak response to the crisis. The devastating earthquake last year Which claimed the lives of more than 53 thousand people.

If Imamoglu remains in Istanbul, “he will be well placed to unite the divided opposition and launch a bid for the presidency in 2028,” said Hamish Kinnear, a senior Middle East and North Africa analyst at risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft.

A woman votes at a polling station in Ankara, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Turkey holds local elections on Sunday that will decide who will control Istanbul and other major cities.  (AP Photo/Ali Onal)

A woman votes at a polling station in Ankara, Sunday, March 31, 2024. Turkey holds local elections on Sunday that will decide who will control Istanbul and other major cities. (AP Photo/Ali Onal)

On the other hand, a new conservative religious party, the New Welfare Party, appears to have succeeded in attracting votes from AKP supporters who were disappointed with the government's handling of the economy. It has left many people struggling to buy essential goods amid rising inflation.

In Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, the DDP was on track to win several municipalities, but it is unclear whether it will be allowed to retain them. In previous years, Erdogan's government removed elected pro-Kurdish mayors from office over their alleged links to Kurdish militants and replaced them with state-appointed trustees.

Erdogan, who has led Turkey for more than two decades – as prime minister since 2003 and president since 2014 – was Call for a new constitution This would put family values ​​at the forefront. He does not have enough votes to approve a new constitution now, but his strong appearance may allow him to attract some conservative, nationalist, or Islamist lawmakers from the opposition camp to obtain the required two-thirds majority.

See also  India suspends the membership of 141 MPs, accusing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of stifling the opposition

___

Kiper reported from Bodrum, Türkiye.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *