April 13, 2024

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

Turkish elections: In a setback for Erdogan, the opposition makes huge gains in local elections

Turkish elections: In a setback for Erdogan, the opposition makes huge gains in local elections

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's main opposition party retained control of major cities and made huge gains elsewhere in Sunday's local elections, in a major surprise to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had his sights set on regaining control of those areas. urban areas.

With more than 90% of ballot boxes counted, current Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who belongs to the Republican People's Party, has a wide lead in Turkey's largest city and economic center, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. The results showed that Mansur Yavaş, mayor of the capital, Ankara, retained his seat with a stunning 25-point margin over his rival.

In all, the CHP won municipalities in 36 of Turkey's 81 provinces, according to Anadolu, making its way into many of Erdogan's party strongholds. It received 37% of the vote nationwide, compared to 36% for the president's party, marking the CHP's biggest electoral victory since Erdogan came to power two decades ago.

Erdogan acknowledged the electoral setback in a speech from the balcony of the presidential palace, saying his party had suffered a “loss of height” across Turkey. He added that the people had delivered a “message” that his party would “analyze” it by engaging in “courageous” self-criticism.

Erdogan added: “Unfortunately, nine months after our victory in the May 28 elections, we were not able to get the result we wanted in the local election test.” “We will correct our mistakes and correct our shortcomings.”

He pledged to move forward with the economic program presented last year that aims to combat inflation.

See also  South Korea abandons the 69-hour weekly work plan after the youth revolution

Voting was considered a measure 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 victories 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.

The result was a boost for the opposition, which was left divided and demoralized after defeat by Erdogan and the ruling Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in last year's presidential and parliamentary elections.

“Voters have decided to create a new political system in Turkey,” CHP leader Ozgur Ozil told a crowd of cheering supporters. He added: “Today, voters decided to change the picture that has been going on for 22 years in Turkey and open the door to a new political climate in our country.”

Meanwhile, a large crowd gathered outside Ankara City Hall to celebrate Yavaş's victory. “Ankara is proud of you!” Supporters cheered.

Sinan Ulgen, director of the Istanbul-based Edam Research Center, said the “surprising result” was due to voters' desire to punish the ruling party because of “the depth of economic distress.” High inflation has left many Turkish families struggling to purchase basic goods.

Ulgen said that AKP supporters chose to stay away from polling stations or voted for other parties.

He added that the participation rate was relatively low compared to previous elections. “There were shifts between parties in voting, which did not happen in national elections due to strong ideological connections. This time economics prevailed over identity.”

See also  A fuel depot caught fire near a major bridge in Crimea, Russia

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)

Participation was about 76%, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency, compared to 87% last year.

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, where 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.

Imamoglu received 50.6% of the votes in Istanbul, while the Justice and Development Party candidate Murat Kurum, the former Minister of Urbanization and Environment, received 40.5%, according to Anadolu. 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/Emrah 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/Emrah Gurel)

İmamoğlu, 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. The pro-Kurdish People's Equality and Democracy Party and the nationalist Good Party each presented their own parties. 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.

Ulgen said the result thrust Imamoglu into the role of potential opposition leader to challenge Erdogan for the presidency in 2028.

“This result was definitely a turning point for Imamoglu,” he said. He added: “He will emerge as a natural opposition candidate for the next round of presidential elections.”

A new conservative religious party, the New Welfare Party, appears to have succeeded in attracting votes from AKP supporters who were disillusioned with the government's handling of the economy.

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 keep 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.

Analysts said a strong performance by Erdogan's party would have strengthened 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.

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.

___

Kiper reported from Bodrum, Türkiye.