Site icon Chitral Today

Turks deal biggest electoral blow to Erdogan

Turkey election Erdogan defeat in local elections

ISTANBUL (Reuters): Turks dealt President Tayyip Erdogan and his party their biggest electoral blow on Sunday in a nationwide local vote that reasserted the opposition as a political force and reinforced Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu as the president’s chief rival.

With most of the votes counted, Imamoglu led by 10 percentage points in the mayoral race in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, while his Republican People’s Party (CHP) retained Ankara and gained 15 other mayoral seats in cities nationwide.

It marked the worst defeat for Erdogan and his AK Party (AKP) in their more than two decades in power, and could signal a change in the country’s divided political landscape. Erdogan called it a “turning point” in a post-midnight address.

He and the AKP fared worse than opinion polls predicted due to soaring inflation, dissatisfied Islamist voters and, in Istanbul, Imamoglu’s appeal beyond the CHP’s secular base, analysts said.

“Those who do not understand the nation’s message will eventually lose,” Imamoglu, 53, told thousands of jubilant supporters late on Sunday, some of them chanting for Erdogan to resign.

“Tonight, 16 million Istanbul citizens sent a message to both our rivals and the president,” said the former businessman, who entered politics in 2008 and is now widely touted as a likely presidential challenger.

Erdogan, who in the 1990s was also mayor of his hometown Istanbul, had campaigned hard ahead of the municipal elections, which analysts described as a gauge of both his support and the opposition’s durability.

Exit mobile version