Erdogan party suffers election setbacks
ISTANBUL – The candidate from Turkey’s main opposition party appeared headed for victory on Monday in the race to become mayor of Istanbul, an influential post that launched the political career of the country’s president and one he had zealously sought to keep in the hands of his ruling party.
Sadi Guven, the head of Turkey’s high election board, told reporters on Monday that the opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, was leading his competitor, Binali Yildirim, by nearly 28,000 votes.
Yildirim, who served as prime minister under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, acknowledged his opponent’s lead on Monday but did not concede defeat.
The race was part of nationwide local elections held on Sunday that were widely seen as a referendum on Erdogan’s policies, including his faltering effort to prevent a downturn in the economy. Preliminary results showed the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, led all other parties among voters. But opposition victories in several of Turkey’s largest cities, including Ankara, the capital, dealt Erdogan a significant symbolic defeat.
Imamoglu’s victory in Istanbul, if confirmed, would be the harshest blow.
– Washington Post