Turkey local elections: Setback for Erdogan in big cities

President Erdogan's party LOSES mayoral race in Turkish capital

Speaking at a news conference late Sunday, Erdogan said his party had lost some cities in the elections but was leading by far across the country. The AKP said it had "plenty of" evidence of voting irregularities in Istanbul.

While the AK Party looked set to hold Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, by the narrowest of margins, defeat in Ankara would be a major setback for Erdogan, who campaigned relentlessly for two months ahead of a vote that he described as a "matter of survival" for Turkey.

But his daily rallies and overwhelmingly supportive media coverage failed to win over voters in the two main cities, as last year's punishing currency crisis weighed heavily on Turks.

The balance between supply and demand in the oil market is fragile, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Monday, .

Erdogan, who was elected past year 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.

The ruling party took the lead in 16 metropolitan municipalities and 24 other provinces, according to unofficial results.

Fatih Sahin, the secretary general of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, said they had identified mistakes in the result and would file their objections to the electoral board.

But AKP Istanbul provincial head, Bayram Senocak, said voting irregularities had had an impact on the outcome and insisted that Erdogan's party had won.

Unofficial results showed Mansur Yavas, the candidate of the CHP-led alliance, winning the top post in Ankara with 50.9% support.

The ruling AK Party, which ran as part of the People's Alliance, suffered setback in Sunday's local elections, which were held against the backdrop of Turkey's first recession in a decade while its lira currency lost as much as 40 percent of its value against the United States dollar previous year.

Differing results published by Anadolu Agency, which now places Yildirim in the lead by 0.5 percent, were not not provided by the country's official electoral authority, the YSK chief added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in municipal elections but the opposition's success in key cities dealt a significant blow to his party's dominance.

The lira tumbled nearly 30 per cent against the dollar in last year's currency crisis.

Behlul Ozkan, an associate professor at Marmara University, said Erdogan's loss of ground in Ankara and Istanbul indicated that his socially conservative and construction-driven policies no longer resonated in Turkey's cities.

"If (Erdogan) can not create a solution, it's inevitable that there will be greater losses in the period ahead", another party source said. "Markets expect that there will be a change in the cabinet".

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