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Erdogan's AKP will appeal election results in Ankara

Erdogan's AKP said it will appeal the local election results in Ankara [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 1 April, 2019

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The apparent loss of Turkey's three biggest and most politically significant cities represents a blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said on Monday it will appeal the local election results in Ankara in what could change the outcome of the poll, after it lost to the main opposition party in Sunday's elections.

AKP Secretary General Fatih Sahin said his party would appeal the results in every district of the capital, Reuters reported, and that this would make "significant progress" for the ruling party.

The apparent loss of Turkey's three biggest and most politically significant cities represents a blow to President Erdogan's government in an election which has been seen to be the most important test yet for his executive presidency.

Anadolu news agency declared the main opposition party as the likely winner of a knife-edge race for the mayorship of Istanbul. The state-run agency said the People's Republican Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem Imamoglu was in the lead by 0.28 percent over his AKP rival with 99.8 percent of ballot boxes opened

Earlier, Sadi Guven, chief of Turkey's Supreme Electoral Authority (YSK), disputed claims by the AKP and state media that the opposition had lost the hard-fought local elections in Istanbul, saying Imamoglu was in the lead by almost 28,000 votes, with only 80 ballot boxes left to be counted.

These results removed former prime minister and ruling AKP candidate Binali Yildirim, who claimed he had won the mayorship on Sunday night, from his Istanbul seat.

The Istanbul mayorship is particularly significant as it was in this position that in 1994 Erdogan began his climb up the political ladder towards being elected as a near-all-powerful president in 2018.

It is also a position which, similarly to the Ankara mayorship, has been held by the AKP and its predecessor the Welfare Party (RP) since 1994.

"As of now the CHP candidate has more votes than us," Yildirim acknowledged on Monday afternoon.

However, the former prime minister claimed that there are 216,000 invalid votes which will need to be assessed.

The AKP plans to contest "voting irregularities" in Ankara, Istanbul and Igdir, where the pro-Kurdish HDP beat the AKP and two nationalist parties, according to Daily Sabah.

Complaints by an parties are likely to take days to resolve

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