April 13, 2024

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Erdogan's party suffered a heavy decline in municipal elections

Erdogan's party suffered a heavy decline in municipal elections

Explanation – Opposition parties are on track to retain Istanbul and Ankara after winning a nationwide victory on Sunday.

Correspondent in Istanbul

The first results of local elections show a significant decline in Erdogan's party, the AKP, which has been in power for two decades. According to the precinct numbering of the ballot boxes, this Sunday evening, March 31, the two “primary” cities won by the opposition CHP in 2019, the capital Ankara and Istanbul, retained what “Reese” wanted. Recovers costs.

With 63% of ballot boxes counted at 10:30pm local time, according to Anadolu Agency, Mansur Yavas was re-elected with 58.93% of the vote to his AKP opponent's 33.15%. As for Ekrem Imamoglu, he got 50.44%. 40.43% against his main opponent from the ruling party.

Race for 2028 presidential election

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in power for more than two decades, has thrown all his efforts into the campaign, especially in Istanbul, Turkey's cultural capital, where he was mayor in the 1990s.

In addition to his many trips across the country, he openly campaigned with former environment minister Murat Kurum, known for his lack of charisma, and was the focus of most of his posters.

On Saturday, twenty-four hours before the polls began, we saw him holding three meetings before heading to the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul to pray…the day before the last election.

For his part, Ekrem Imamoglu has redoubled his efforts to reach out to the people, overcome divisions within the opposition, deceive his voters and remind people of his achievements, which are less exciting than five years ago. The virtual control of power over the media there did not allow him much room to express himself to the people.

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But the stubbornness of the Turkish “Reese” was not enough to discredit him, as it seems in view of the first results.

According to experts, the re-election of the current mayor of Istanbul, the economic heart of the country, will already introduce him to the race for the 2028 presidential election.

In a first speech to reporters and a glimpse of the first results, he preached caution. “We are pleased with the photo in front of us, but we await the full results“, he told reporters.

A turning point in voter choice

In the political capital Ankara, Mansur Yavas, another big name in the CHP, is moving toward a comfortable re-election that would make him another potential challenger to Erdogan in the race for power.

Other strategic cities are also given to the opposition parties. Izmir, the country's third city and a traditional stronghold of the Social Democratic Party, remains in opposition hands.

The pro-Kurdish DEM party, for its part, has won Kurdish-majority major cities in the southeast, including Diyarbakir, the unofficial capital of Turkey's Kurds.

Elsewhere in the country, AKP candidates are leading as expected in several major cities in President Erdogan's strongholds of Anatolia (Konya, Kayseri, Erzurum) and the Black Sea (Rise, Trabzon).

On the other hand, for the first time, the ruling party is on the verge of losing other cities in these traditionally pro-AKP regions, such as Giresun or Amasya and Kastamonu on the Black Sea.

If these results are confirmed, it will be a real turning point in the electorate's choice.

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“Like Revenge”

In total, 61 million voters – out of a population of 85 million – voted for their mayors across the country this Sunday, but also for municipal councillors, district mayors and muhtars (neighborhood leaders).

Despite political fatigue (Turks are in their ninth election in 10 years) and lack of enthusiasm in the context of authoritarian drift and economic recession, a significant turnout (76%) of voters has finally demonstrated their willingness to express their growing discontent.

«The Turkish people saw the election as an act of revenge», observes political scientist Céline Chenocac.

According to the first results, the good scores of the new Islamist party Yeniden Refah explain the approval votes expressed by the regular voters of Erdogan's party. “The AKP failed to meet the new generation that grew up in big cities and received higher education.”, analyst Ibrahim Uslu explains these changes in the Sözcu TV series. And, he believes, “Part of its voters no longer saw themselves in the party's authoritarian and ultranationalist turn, focusing initially on neo-liberal values.”.