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Turkey's AKP and opposition party both declare victory in Istanbul

People wait outside of the AK Party's Headquarters after voting ended for the local elections in Ankara, Turkey on 01 April 2019. ( Aytaç Ünal - Anadolu Agency )

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Monday both declared they had narrowly won Istanbul’s mayoral elections on Sunday, Reuters reports.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, CHP candidate Ekrem Imamoglu, citing his party’s data, said he had won by nearly 28,000 votes. Minutes later, the AKP provincial head in Istanbul said his party’s candidate, Binali Yildirim, had won by around 4,000 votes.

Turkish broadcasters said opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Mansur Yavas had won a clear victory in Ankara, but the vote count in Istanbul was so tight that both parties declared the narrowest of victories.

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“The people have voted in favour of democracy, they have chosen democracy,” opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said, declaring that his secularist CHP had taken Ankara and Istanbul from the AK Party (AKP) and held its Aegean coastal stronghold of Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city.

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.

Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, Erdogan said the next elections would be held in June 2023 and that Turkey would carefully implement a “strong economic programme” without compromising on free market rules.

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