Erdogan’s rival leads in Istanbul in high-stakes Turkey vote

“Based on the data we have gathered, I can say that the favour and trust our citizens have in us have indeed been demonstrated,” Imamoglu said.

“The current picture greatly pleases us,” he added.

State-run Anadolu Agency also published partial official tallies showing the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leading in big cities such as Izmir, Bursa, Antalya and Adana.

The CHP’s Imamoglu had dealt Erdogan and his AKP the biggest electoral blow of his two decades in power after winning the 2019 vote. The president struck back in 2023 by securing re-election and a parliament majority with his nationalist allies.

According to partial results, the CHP is leading nationwide by almost 39 percent of the votes, a first in 35 years.


Analysts said a poor showing for AKP on Sunday could loosen Erdogan’s control of Türkiye and signal potential change in the major emerging economy’s divided political landscape. An Imamoglu win would also fuel expectations of him becoming a future national leader.

“Imamoglu is fine and does what he should as mayor, but he does not compare with Erdogan,” AKP voter and retiree Omer said earlier on Sunday, while a jubilant crowd chanted the president’s name as he emerged from a polling station in Istanbul.

Elsewhere in Istanbul, Europe’s biggest city with more than 16 million people, engineer Murat Ercan said he disapproved of Erdogan’s active role in campaigning for his party ahead of the elections, believing the president should be impartial.

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