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1 Apr, 2024 08:09

Türkiye’s Erdogan concedes ruling party’s electoral loss

The setback in municipal elections on Sunday will be a turning point for the AKP, the president has vowed
Türkiye’s Erdogan concedes ruling party’s electoral loss

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has acknowledged an electoral defeat for his Justice and Development Party (AKP), after it was projected to have lost to the opposition in Sunday’s municipal elections.

The top offices in Türkiye’s largest cities were among those contested at the ballot box. The ruling party’s main challenger, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has managed to retain the mayorships in Istanbul and Ankara – the economic powerhouse of the country and its capital, respectively. Erdogan had sought to win back the key cities his party ceded five years ago.

The CHP prevailed in 36 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, including in some traditional AKP strongholds, the news agency Anadolu has said, citing preliminary results. It won 37% of the votes nationally, compared to the AKP’s 36%. The results represent the strongest electoral performance by the secular nationalist political force in two decades. The outcome has turned the tables on Erdogan, who beat an alliance of six opposition parties led by the CHP in last year’s presidential election.

“We could not get the result we wanted in the local election test,” Erdogan said after the projections arrived, calling it a “turning point” for the AKP. “We will correct our mistakes and redress our shortcomings.”

“Regardless of the results, the winner of this election is primarily our democracy, the national will,” the president added.

CHP leader Ozgur Ozel delivered a similar message in his celebratory speech. He said: “There is no loser in this victory. Our success is not a defeat for anyone.” He also argued that voters have “decided to change the 22-year-old picture in Türkiye and open the door to a new political climate in our country,” referring to Erdogan’s time in power.

Political experts say the AKP’s loss was largely due to economic hardships that Türkiye has experienced over the past several years, particularly in the wake of the devastation of last year’s earthquake that killed more than 53,000 people. A new political force called the New Welfare Party (YRP), which shares the AKP’s religious-conservative stance, appeared to have lured away supporters who were unhappy with the government’s handling of the economy.

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