Opposition CHP leading in key cities

Turkey’s opposition candidate and incumbent mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, is leading in local elections, according to preliminary results.

Imamoglu, of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), had nearly 50.92% of the vote with around 92% of the ballot boxes counted in Istanbul, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

“Tonight, 16 million Istanbul citizens sent a message to both our rivals and the president,” the 53-year-old former businessman told supporters late on Sunday. “Thank you Istanbul,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Millions of Turks cast their vote to elect mayors and administrators in local elections on Sunday. The vote gauges Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity as his ruling party tries to win back key cities.

The main battleground for the Turkish president was Instanbul, where he was born and raised and where he began his political career as mayor in 1994.

Opposition upbeat after partial results

“We are in first position with a lead of more than a million votes … We have won the election,” Imamoglu told reporters at the CHP’s Istanbul headquarters.

Murat Kurum, the candidate of Erodgan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which rules nationally, had around 40%, according to Anadolu Agency.

Mansur Yavas, the mayor of the capital, Ankara, retained his seat with a stunning 25-point difference over his AKP challenger, the results indicated. Yavas declared victory, saying, “the elections are over, we will continue to serve Ankara.”

The CHP was also ahead in Turkey’s third-largest city, Izmir and looked to be leading in 36 of the country’s 81 provinces, according to the preliminary results reported by state broadcaster TRT.

The CHP was leading with 37.32% with 90% of all ballot boxes opened across all provinces, according to Anadolu Agency. The AKP had 35.78%, it said.

This means the CHP led nationwide by almost 1% of the votes, a first in 35 years.

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