Erdogan's party is in sharp decline in the municipal elections

Erdogan's party is in sharp decline in the municipal elections

Decryption – The opposition is on track to achieve victory across the country on Sunday and retain Istanbul and Ankara.

Correspondent in Istanbul

The first results of the local elections show a significant decline in the Justice and Development Party, Erdogan's party that has been in power for two decades. According to the partial count of the ballot boxes, on the evening of Sunday, March 31, the opposition Republican People’s Party maintained control of the two “major” cities that it won in the 2019 elections, Ankara, the capital, and Istanbul, which the “president” wanted at all. Re overcome costs.

After counting 63% of the ballot boxes at 10:30 pm local time, according to Anadolu Agency, Mansur Yavaş was on his way to being re-elected with 58.93%, compared to 33.15% for his competitor from the Justice and Development Party. As for Ekrem Imamoglu, he received 50.44%. Compared to 40.43% for his main competitor from the ruling party.

The race towards the 2028 presidential elections

However, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in power for more than two decades, has thrown his full weight into the campaign, especially in Istanbul, Turkey's cultural capital, where he was mayor in the 1990s.

In addition to his numerous trips around the country, he openly campaigned alongside Murat Kurum, the charismatic former environment minister, with whom he shared the spotlight in most posters.

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On Saturday, twenty-four hours before the polls opened, we saw him holding three meetings in Istanbul, before heading to pray at the Hagia Sophia Mosque… as on the eve of the last elections.

For his part, Ekrem Imamoglu redoubled his efforts to reach out to the population, overcome divisions within the opposition that may have disappointed his voters, and remind the masses of his achievements that are less enthusiastic than they were five years ago. The actual control of power over the media left him little space to express himself to the masses.

But it seems that the stubbornness of the Turkish “president” in distorting his reputation was not enough in light of the first results.

Experts believe that the re-election of the current mayor of Istanbul, the economic heart of the country, will actually push him into the race for the 2028 presidential elections.

In his first speech to the press, and in light of the first results, he nevertheless called for caution. “The picture in front of us pleases us, but we are waiting for the full results“, he told the press.

A turning point in voters' choices

In Ankara, political capital Mansur Yavaş, another big name in the CHP, is heading for a comfortable re-election, which would make him another potential rival to Erdogan in the race for power.

Other strategic cities were also given to the opposition for granted. Izmir, the third city in the country and the traditional stronghold of the Social Democratic Party, remains in opposition hands.

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For its part, the pro-Kurdish DDP is the winner in major cities in the Kurdish-majority southeast, including Diyarbakir, the unofficial capital of Turkey's Kurds.

In the rest of the country, AKP candidates are still ahead as expected in several major cities in Anatolia (Konya, Kayseri, Erzurum) and the Black Sea (Rize, Trabzon), President Erdogan's strongholds.

On the other hand, and this will be the first time, the ruling party appears to be on the verge of losing other cities in these traditionally pro-AKP regions, such as Giresun or Amasya and Kastamonu on the Black Sea.

If these results are confirmed, it will be a real turning point in voters’ choices.

“Like revenge”

In all, 61 million voters – out of a population of 85 million – voted on Sunday across the country to choose their mayors as well as municipal council members, mayors and mukhtars (district heads).

Despite political fatigue (Turks are in their ninth election in ten years) and lack of enthusiasm in the context of authoritarian drift and economic stagnation, the high turnout (76%) of voters finally demonstrated their willingness to express their growing discontent.

The Turkish people saw these elections as revenge“, notes political scientist Selin Sinočak.

According to the first results, the good results achieved by the new Islamist Yeniden Refah Party demonstrate the vote on sanctions expressed by the usual voters of Erdogan's party. “The AKP failed to come to see the new generation who grew up in the big cities and achieved higher education.”“, Analyst Ibrahim Oslu watches on Sozko TV, explaining these changes. Moreover, he believes “A portion of its voters no longer found themselves in the authoritarian and ultra-nationalist turn of the party, which initially focused on neoliberal values..

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