Erdogan vows to make amends after humbling election loss in Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan poses with his supporters as he leaves a polling station during the local elections in Istanbul, Turkey March 31, 2024. Murat Kulu/PPO/Handout via REUTERS/ File photo Purchase Licensing Rights
Published April 2, 2024

ISTANBUL, April 1 (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Monday to correct any mistakes that led to his party’s defeat in Turkey’s local elections where the opposition capitalised on economic woes and alienated Islamist voters, casting uncertainty over his reform plans.

Sunday’s vote marked Erdogan and his AK Party’s (AKP) worst defeat in more than 20 years in power, revitalising the opposition party and strengthening Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu‘s standing as the president’s main rival.

Redrawing a political map long dominated by the AKP, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) won the popular vote for the first time in decades and swept most of the main cities, penetrating far into conservative central Turkey.

Analysts said voters lost patience with both a cost-of-living crisis driven by near 70% inflation and Erdogan’s divisive political style.

The result bruised his hopes of adopting a new constitution, which could potentially extend his rule beyond 2028 when his term ends, they said.

Though AKP and its allies have a majority in parliament, Erdogan would need broader support or a successful referendum for a new constitution.



RELATED: Recep Tayyip Erdogan Suffers Worst Defeat in Two Decades in Turkey’s Local Elections

Published April 2, 2024

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) suffered their worst defeat in more than 20 years in local elections, losing the mayoralties of both Istanbul and Ankara to opposition candidates.

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) narrowly won the overall popular vote for the first time in decades, elevating Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu to become Erdogan’s major rival for national influence. The count as of Monday morning gave CHP 37 percent of the popular vote versus 36 percent for AKP.

Some observers thought CHP redrew the political map enough to foreclose Erdogan’s hopes of rewriting the constitution so he could run again in 2028. AKP’s parliamentary majority is no longer large enough to push through a new constitution without a referendum, which the results suggest Erdogan would lose.

Erdogan strove to put a positive spin on the election results, which saw CHP pick up 15 mayor’s offices and 36 municipal governments.

“March 31, is not an end but a turning point for us. In the local government elections, the Turkish nation again used the ballot box as an opportunity to convey its messages to the politicians,” the president said.



RELATED: Turkey polls: Erdogan concedes

SUPPORTERS of Justice and Development (AK) Party cheer as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech after the Turkish local municipal elections, at AK Party Headquarters in Ankara. Turkey’s main opposition party on 31 March claimed victory in Istanbul and Ankara, with its rising political star emerging from local elections as a serious challenger to veteran President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ADEM ALTAN/GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP 
Published April 1. 2024

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan conceded defeat on Sunday in the country’s local elections, saying the vote was a “turning point” for his party after two decades in power.

Partial results from across the nation of 85 million people showed major advances for the Republican People’s Party (CHP) at the expense of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

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 by the country’s electoral commission.

Erdogan had launched an all-out personal campaign to win back Istanbul, the economic powerhouse where he was once mayor. Rampant inflation and an economic crisis have, however, hit confidence in the ruling party.

Large crowds filled the square outside the opposition party’s Istanbul city headquarters waving Turkish flags and lighting torches to celebrate the result.




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