Turkey's opposition says has won in Istanbul, lead too big to close

01 April, 2019, 08:26 | Author: Mary Valdez
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In Istanbul, BBC Turkey correspondent Mark Lowen says, the result is too close to call - but some reports are putting the governing AK Party ahead.

Nationwide, AKP remains the largest party with 45 per cent of the vote, according to partial results released by Anadolu state news agency with 91 per cent of ballot boxes opened.

"If there are any shortcomings, it is our duty to correct them", Erdogan told supporters. "Starting tomorrow morning, we will begin our work to identify our shortcomings and make up for them".

The Turkish lira was little changed in early trading after midnight in Istanbul.

One person was stabbed as 15 people clashed in a row between candidates in Istanbul's Kadikoy district, a police source said.

In Malatya, south-east Turkey, two election workers from the Saadet Party, which is part of an opposition alliance, were killed in a dispute with the relative of an AKP candidate, according to Saadet Party leader Temel Karamollaoglu.

State media reported that Erdogan's Islamic-based party won almost 48 percent of the votes across the country, while the main opposition party, the Republican Peoples' Party (CHP), bagged 31 percent of the vote.

"Our people have made us winners of the elections for the 15th time in a row".

Although the result won't affect Erdogan's formal grip on the executive body, the erosion in support will add urgency to efforts to put the economy back on a growth track and regain the confidence of investors after years of populist quick fixes.

Four people were killed and dozens of others were injured in election-related violence across Turkey.

The Turkish leader noted that a pro-Kurdish party - which he branded as terrorists for their alleged links to outlawed Kurdish rebels - had suffered losses in the country's mostly-Kurdish populated regions.

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Official results are only declared by the YSK, and the closeness of the race means that a recount is likely. He has said at campaign rallies that "whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey".

In the capital Ankara, Mansur Yavas, the candidate from main opposition CHP, had a narrow but firm lead of 50.6 percent in Sunday's local elections against his AKP's rival.

In a speech to supporters in Ankara, Erdogan appeared to accept AKP defeat in Istanbul, although he maintained that most neighbourhoods in the city were held by his party.

"We did not think that we would lose Ankara in this election", said Mehmet Akcam, 18.

But his opponent Ekrem Imamoglu dismissed Yildirim's claim as an attempt to manipulate opinion and asked him to be responsible while the final tally was being completed.

Before the elections, Erdogan campaigned tirelessly for AKP's candidates, framing the municipal elections taking place across Turkey as matters of "national survival".

Economic prosperity provided Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party with previous electoral successes.

"I voted for the AKP for continuity and so that their services continue", the homemaker said.

The vote will be the first time since 2002 that the AKP is fielding candidates with its alliance partner, the rightwing Nationalist Movement Party.

Election campaigning was highly polarised, with Mr Erdogan and other officials using hostile rhetoric towards opposition candidates. Experts have said that the HDP has been heavily affected by the PKK's focus on Marxist ideological stances that have led them to ignore people's needs on the ground.



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