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Local elections in Türkiye are a test of Erdogan’s temperament – Politics –

Local elections in Türkiye are a test of Erdogan’s temperament – Politics –

Murat Kurum is Erdogan's candidate for mayor of Istanbul
©APA/AFP (archive)

In Turkey, about 61 million people are called on Sunday to elect mayors, municipal council members and other local politicians in 81 provinces. The election is also seen as a test of the sentiments of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was re-elected about ten months ago. The focus is on the city of Istanbul, which Erdogan's conservative Islamist Justice and Development Party lost to the opposition five years ago and now wants to regain.

Istanbul is the most populous city in the country, with a population of about 16 million, and about a third of Turkey's economic output is generated there. Opinion polls indicate a close race between AKP candidate Murat Kurum, 47, and Ekrem Imamoglu, 53, of the main opposition Republican People's Party. The first official results are expected later Sunday evening.

If Imamoglu wins again, his position as a potential rival to Erdogan in the upcoming presidential elections will be strengthened. If the AKP takes Istanbul back, Erdogan, who has ruled the country for more than 20 years and was previously the mayor of Istanbul, will consolidate his power further. The main topics of the election campaign included massive inflation, which reached about 67 percent, and infrastructure projects.

The election campaign was considered unfair, as a large portion of the media in Turkey is under direct or indirect government control. A delegation from the Council of Europe and the Left Party is monitoring the elections at the site.

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