Erdogan pledges economic reforms following local elections

Turkish flags in Izmir Turkey

Candidates from 13 political parties are running in the elections, including the opposition Nation Alliance led by the Republican People's Party (CHP), and the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), in alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

AKP secretary general Fatoih Sahin said the party will appeal in Ankara, saying the gap between the candidates "will narrow down and I believe it will eventually turn into a positive result for us".

In a speech he gave after the results were announced on Sunday, Erdogan said, "If there are any shortcomings, it is our duty to correct them". "Starting tomorrow morning, we will begin our work to identify our shortcomings and make up for them".

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

The opposition is also ahead in the contest for mayor of the largest city, Istanbul, the election commission says.

The capital Ankara, the second-largest city, also fell to the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), as did the fifth-largest, Adana, and the Mediterranean city of Antalya.

"But we do take the fact that many parties have been successful as a positive sign of Turkey's democratic resilience", he told reporters in Ankara.

The local elections were held for the first time after the president acquired sweeping executive powers following the April 2017 referendum.

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But Erdogan, whose ability to win continuously in the ballot box is unparalleled in Turkish history, is more vulnerable with the country's economy in recession, unemployment up and inflation in double digits.

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.

Voters on Sunday elected scores of mayors, municipal councils and other local officials. CHP and HDP officials also stated that the YSK stopped issuing election reports nationwide for almost an hour last night and questioned both the validity of the results and the YSK's claim that the stoppage was due to a "technical malfunction".

"After this election, everybody won", Kilicdaroglu declared.

"They robbed us of our will and we overturned this", said Abdullah Elmas, a resident of Diyarbakir, the region's biggest city. Both the AKP and opposition candidates were claiming victory in Istanbul late on Sunday evening. The private Demiroren news agency showed Imamoglu leading Monday. The Malatya governorate said four individuals were detained. "Turkey's economic downturn has killed Erdogan's aura of invincibility".

An AKP official and a source close to the party each predicted a cabinet shuffle or other changes among those around Erdogan. Some of its leaders have been jailed on terror charges, accusations they reject.

The decline in urban support for his conservative, religious-based party came despite the fact that Erdogan wields tight control over the media, which hardly covered the opposition candidates' campaigns.

He has described the lira's fluctuations as part of a plot led by the United States to "corner Turkey". With Turkey in the grip of soaring food prices, over 30 percent, "The key issue for the next local elections in Turkey is the economy", said Professor Baris Doster of Istanbul's Marmara University.

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