Monday, 22 April, 2019

Erdogan says his party wins election in Istanbul

Poll observers raise concerns over curbs on freedom in Turkey Erdogan says his party wins election in Istanbul
Lloyd Bates | 02 April, 2019, 06:28

AK Party's Istanbul candidate Binali Yildirim told reporters on Monday that invalid votes cast on Sunday outnumber the vote difference tenfold, adding that his rival Ekrem Imamoglu - the candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) - now had 25,000 more votes.

"There are 31,136 ballot boxes [in Istanbul]".

The economic crisis negatively affected the ruling party in the elections, Zeyrek said, elaborating on the failure of the AKP in big cities.

Polling in Turkey's municipal elections began on Sunday morning, with 57 million eligible to vote in the country's 81 provinces and closed across the country on Sunday morning.

Procedures to challenge the vote were continuing, Guven said, with 84 ballot boxes left to be counted.

A strategic decision by the pro-Kurdish party to sit out critical races in major cities may have contributed to the secular party's increase in votes.

"AKP is the victor by far as it has always been since the November 3, 2002 elections when it won for the first time", he said.

Erdogan, who was elected a year ago as the country's first executive president, said the next polls would be held in June 2023, adding that Turkey would carefully implement a "strong economic programme" without compromising on free-market rules.

Rights activists and Turkey's Western allies say that under Erdogan's leadership, democracy has been eroded, particularly after a failed 2016 coup that led to tens of thousands of people being arrested.

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YSK's website was down at the time of publishing, a regular occurence during Turkish elections.

According to Galip Dalay, a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford, the results are not a mathematical loss for the AK Party, but they still would not be taken lightly by Erdogan's bloc.

"The people have voted in favor of democracy, they have chosen democracy", opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said on Sunday, declaring that CHP candidates had wrestled Ankara and Istanbul from AKP control and held on to their stronghold of Izmir, Turkey's third largest city.

Ozgur Dilber, a CHP volunteer, said the results showed that the AK Party's popularity was waning.

Turkish lira stood at 5.6275 against US dollar at 0357 GMT, but its slip on March 22 marked its worst performance since August when a full-blown crisis took hold and tipped Turkey's economy into a recession that could last deep into this year. In an echo of that crisis of confidence, it has swung wildly tmsnrt.rs/2CEaO11 in the last six trading days as the government and central bank unleashed a series of stop-gap support measures.

The country has also been dealing with higher unemployment rates and inflation.

Erdogan has described the vote as a matter of survival for the country.

Turkey's economic recession weighed on voters.

For its part, the main opposition alliance has focused its campaign on the economic situation and its effect on citizens.

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