Turkish lira slides after vote; Istanbul slips from Erdogan

Turkish lira slides after vote; Istanbul slips from Erdogan

"If one vote is filled in incorrectly in each ballot box, this equals 31,136 votes, which is more than the difference", Yildirim said.

The party would appeal results wherever needed, he added.

They were also a first test for Erdogan - who has been accused of increasingly authoritarian tendencies - since he got widely expanded presidential powers a year ago. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party has been in control of the city for over 15 years.

The High Election Board said on Monday morning that the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for Istanbul mayor led the AKP candidate by almost 28,000 votes.

In Ankara, CHP candidate Mansur Yavas won a clear victory, according to Turkish broadcasters.

The last results published by Anadolu gave the AKP a lead of just 4,000 votes and the ruling party said it planned to challenge tens of thousands of ballots it considered invalid in both of the major cities.

Anadolu said the AKP would appeal in some Ankara districts.

"We will carry out economic reforms without compromising on the rules of the free-market economy", he told reporters.

"There is a lot of evidence going round that Imamoglu has won Istanbul but I'm not going to crack open the champagne until I see Istanbul go red [the CHP's colour] on the [Anadolu Agency] page", said Twitter user Can Okar, summing up a common claim for anti-Erdogan Turks as the Istanbul vote remains contested: it is not the official results that matter, perhaps, but the results declared by state media.

Despite eking out majority support across the country, defeat for Erdogan's Islamist-rooted party in Ankara was a significant blow for the president.




Both candidates - Ekrem Imamoglu for the secular Republican People's Party, or CHP, and former prime minister Binali Yildirim for the ruling party - claimed they had won.

At 0751 GMT, the lira stood at 5.6780 against the USA dollar, having weakened to as much as 5.6999 and compared with a close on Friday of 5.5550. Losing Istanbul, a city three times the size of the capital, where he launched his political career and served as mayor in the 1990s, would be an even greater shock.

The polls posed a major challenge for Erdogan, given a backdrop of high inflation and rising unemployment sparked by a major currency crisis past year.

In February, inflation stood at just under 20 percent, while the Central Bank's main interest rate is now 24 percent.

Speaking as the results were still being counted, Erdogan said that the outcome of the elections would be the "nation's will".

The Ankara mayoral post is now in opposition hands.

In mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey, residents celebrated as the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) won back municipalities that authorities had taken control of two years ago, accusing the HDP of terrorist links.

Erdogan acknowledged setbacks in a speech to his supporters, saying his party would work to understand what had gone wrong and fix the problem.

"If we have objections [with the electoral commission], we will raise them".

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