Published: Tue, April 02, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

Turkey elections pave way for bad economic choices

Turkey elections pave way for bad economic choices

The news agency said 99 percent of the votes had been counted so far.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said that his AK Party had lost some cities in Sunday's mayoral elections, and pledged that his government would now focus on implementing strong economic plans.

The opposition CHP party candidate for Istanbul mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, was leading by almost 28,000 votes with most ballot boxes counted, Supreme Election Board (YSK) chairman Sadi Guven said.

With 90 percent of ballots counted, secularist opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) mayoral candidate Mansur Yavas had 50.3 percent of the vote, 2.8 percentage points ahead of his AK Party rival.

Even before the final figures were announced, Erdogan's ally and former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said he won the race in Istanbul, Turkey's commercial hub, a claim rejected by the opposition, which said it won.

Although Erdogan was not running for office Sunday, he became the face of the campaign, rallying tirelessly for months across Turkey, using hostile rhetoric against opposition parties and portraying the vote as a matter of national survival.

In Ankara, Turkish broadcasters said the CHP candidate had won a clear victory, but the AKP said it would appeal in districts across the city and expected to shift the outcome in its favor. Erdogan's own ascent to power began in 1994 as Istanbul mayor and the city has been held by his party and allies for 25 years.

Dawson urged the Turkish government to respect the election results.

Yavas had been slightly ahead in some recent opinion polls before the election.

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The HDP is alleging electoral fraud in one such city, Sirnak, which it carried in the last election with 59.6 percent of the vote, but lost this time to the AKP, which won 61.9 percent of the vote.

The loss in Istanbul, analysts said, would be especially sensitive for Erdogan, who grew up in the city's working-class Kasimpasa neighborhood, and liked to tell AKP rank-and-file that victory in the city was like winning all of Turkey. The AKP said it had "plenty of" evidence of voting irregularities in Istanbul.

"I am afraid we.are not fully convinced that Turkey now has the free and fair electoral environment which is necessary for genuinely democratic elections in line with European values and principles", said Andrew Dawson.

Supporters of opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) celebrate after early results of the local election in Ankara.

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

The AKP built its ballot box success on Erdogan's perceived economic prowess, but before the vote, the Turkish lira was sliding again, provoking memories of a 2018 crisis that saw the currency fall 30 percent and badly hurt Turkish households.

Leaders across the world on Monday congratulated Turkey's president for his party's win in local elections.

The President has also pointed the finger at interest rates and said if the central bank lowers them, price pressures will come down too and that Turkey would overcome its troubles following Sunday's vote.

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