Skip to main content

Turkey's Erdogan handed historic setback in local elections

For the first time since its inception in 2001, the ruling party’s nationwide vote share fell below that of the main opposition, dealing a blow to the Turkish president’s post-election plans, analysts believe.
Opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) supporters celebrate outside the main municipality building following municipal elections across Turkey, in Istanbul on March 31, 2024. Turkey's main opposition party on March 31 claimed victory in Istanbul and Ankara, with its rising political star emerging from local elections as a serious challenger to veteran President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, addressing supporters at his party's headquarters in Ankara, acknowledged a "turning point" for his party and pro

ANKARA — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan struck a sober tone, uncharacteristic of his traditional election speeches, on the balcony of his party’s headquarters in Ankara early Monday. Sunday’s nationwide local polls had dealt him and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) a rare election blow.

“March 31 doesn’t mark an end for us, but a turning point,” he said. “Nine months after our victory in the May elections, unfortunately, we could not get the result we wanted and hoped for in the local election test,” he told the chanting crowd. “Stand tall, don’t be sad; this nation is behind you.”

“We will make our self-criticism with courage,” he added.

For the first time since its inception in 2001, the AKP's overall vote share fell 2% below that of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which secured 37.74% of the vote nationwide, according to the preliminary results. The CHP not only tightened its grip with landslide victories in the largest metropolises, including in Ankara and Istanbul, but it also captured 16 cities and provinces that were formerly controlled by the AKP or its allied parties.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.