President Erdogan's AK party faces defeat in Turkiye local elections

President Erdogan's AK party faces defeat in Turkiye local elections

Istanbul (Agencies): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suffered a shock defeat at the ballot box against the main opposition party in Sunday’s local elections.

Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AK) fell behind the main opposition Republican People’s Party, known as CHP, for the first time ever, according to early results published by state broadcaster TRT.

Support for AKP stood at 35.9%, while CHP was leading the race with 37.3%, with nearly 90% of the ballots counted, TRT reported.

Istanbul’s mayor, the opposition’s Ekrem Imamoglu, claimed re-election with nearly all ballot boxes opened, telling a euphoric crowd of supporters: “Tomorrow is a new spring day for our country.”

Final results are expected to be released on Monday (today) by the country’s electoral commission.

In Ankara, mayor Mansur Yavas — also of the CHP — claimed victory in front of large crowds of supporters, declaring “the elections are over, we will continue to serve Ankara”.

“Those who have been ignored have sent a clear message to those who rule this country,” he added.

Yavas led with 58.6 per cent of the vote to 33.5pc for his AKP opponent, with 46.4pc of ballot boxes opened.

Opposition supporters celebrated victory in Izmir, Turkiye’s third-largest city, as well as in the southern city of Antalya.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan conceded in the early hours of Monday that his party had lost the Turkish municipal elections, with the main CHP taking the lead.

Erdogan described the election outcome as a pivotal moment rather than a defeat, emphasizing that democracy and the national will are the true winners, irrespective of the results.

He praised the Turkish people for delivering their messages to politicians through the ballot box, highlighting that the election's victor is Turkey itself and its democracy, for which many have paid a high price.

The loss marks a significant shift in Turkish politics, with the CHP securing victories in crucial cities, including Istanbul and Ankara.