Turkey’s “strongman” leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan suffered a severe setback on Sunday. His ruling AK Party lost control of the capital Ankara for the first time in a local election. On Monday he was also behind in the count in the country’s largest city, Istanbul.
Erdogan had campaigned relentlessly for two months ahead of the vote, which he described as a “matter of survival” for Turkey.
But despite overwhelmingly supportive media coverage, the disenchantment over price rises and living standards saw victories for the opposition CHP. The CHP is a social democratic formation.
In mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey, residents celebrated as the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) won back municipalities that authorities had taken over two years ago.
Erdogan tightened his hold on power in elections last year that ushered in an executive presidency, approved in a 2017 referendum.There are no national elections until 2023.