Erdogan’s party hammered in Istanbul Mayoral elections

Erdogan’s party hammered in Istanbul Mayoral elections

Agency News

Ankara, Jun 24: Recriminations started pouring in for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan within his governing party after the scale of the defeat of his candidate in the Istanbul mayoral race became clear.

Turkish president congratulated the opposition’s mayoral candidate Ekrem Imamoglu, as unofficial results showed a convincing win for latter in the election rerun in Istanbul, Turkish presidency said in a statement.

According to unofficial results, with a total of 99.37 percent of ballots counted, Imamoglu won 54.03 per cent of the votes, while ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's candidate Binali Yildirim received 45.09 per cent.

"The national will has appeared once again today. I congratulate Ekrem Imamoglu, who has won the election, according to unofficial results," Erdogan said in a tweet. Erdogan said Turkey will continue to work to achieve its 2023 goals within the framework of principles of People's Alliance, "without compromising democracy, the rule of law and peace, prosperity, and stability of our country."

Referring to this month’s G-20 summit to be held in Japan, his upcoming visit to China which will be followed by Southern Europe and Balkans summit, the President said, "We will continue to carefully address Turkey's all domestic and foreign issues -- in line with our national interests."Meanwhile Turkish main opposition party leader on Sunday vowed to "strengthen" the country with democracy.

"We declared our commitment for democracy to the whole world," said Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of Republican People's Party (CHP). "We are now crowning our republic with democracy and we will enlarge it, strengthen it," Kilicdaroglu said in a speech in front of the party headquarters in the capital, Ankara.

The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) formed the People's Alliance ahead of the June 24, 2018 general elections.Imamoglu and Binali Yildirim of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party vied to run the metropolitan municipality of Turkey's most populous city after a previous vote on March 31 was annulled by the country's top election council last month.

Why Re-run ?

Mr Imamoglu's victory of 13,000 votes in March was not enough for Mr Yildirim to accept defeat. The ruling party alleged that votes were stolen and many ballot box observers did not have official approval, leading the election board to demand a re-run of the vote. Critics argue that pressure from President Erdogan was behind the decision.

Whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey
Mr Erdogan had previously said that, "Whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey". He has ruled the country since 2003 both as prime minister and now president, becoming the most powerful leader since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic.

Istanbul is Turkey's largest city, with a population of 15 million, not far short of a fifth of the country's 80 million, and is also the nation's business hub. The lira, down 10% this year, rose on news of the result.

Istanbul is also close to Mr Erdogan's heart - his political career rose there as his AKP took power in the city a quarter of a century ago and he himself served as mayor from 1994 to 1998.Istanbul accounts for just short of a third of Turkey's GDP. It has a $4bn (£3.14bn) municipal budget which spawns lucrative contacts. The AKP has now lost control of it.
Lira Crisis
Market uncertainty worsened after the announcement of mayoral elections in Istanbul. Analysts also attributed some of the pressure to concerns over US-China trade talks, but the lira has now been on a downward spiral for more than a year.

The currency, which has been ranked the worst-performing in emerging markets for several consecutive weeks, was trading to the greenback at the close of last week.

2016 Coup attempt
Turkey witnessed the bloodiest coup attempt in its political history on July 15, 2016, when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Soldiers and tanks took to the streets and a number of explosions rang out in Ankara and Istanbul.

The Turkish government blames the failed coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. (UNI)