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Erdogan Claims Early Vote Tallies Show AK Party Leading Across Turkey - Reports

© AP Photo / Ali Unal / Voters wait in the line for cast their ballots at a polling station during the local elections in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, March 31, 2019
Voters wait in the line for cast their ballots at a polling station during the local elections in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, March 31, 2019 - Sputnik International
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was currently leading in municipal elections across the country.

Erdogan noted Sunday that despite showing a solid advantage, the AK party had lost some cities, declaring that the results are a "necessity of democracies", according to Reuters.

Speaking at an Istanbul news conference, the Turkish president stated that his AK ruling party would focus on the economy, politics, defense, and industrial production ahead of the June 2023 elections in Turkey.

According to the Anadolu news agency, the AK Party leads after securing 16 metropolitan municipalities and 24 cities, including Istanbul. The main opposition Republican People's Party has so far received 30.1 percent of the overall votes with 10 metropolitan municipalities and 10 cities, including the capital Ankara.

READ MORE: Bye, IMF: Turkey Solidifying Lira, Shifting to Non-Dollar Trade — Economist

Erdogan also said that Turkey has an important reform program ahead, adding that the country will not compromise on free market economy rules, according to Reuters.

The Turkish economy stumbled into its first recession in a decade in March after the national currency nosedived amid US sanctions last summer. The lira slumped almost 7 percent in a single day last week and continued slipping this week.

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According to the local media reports citing ballot box counts, the AK party is leading in Istanbul with 49.24 percent while the main opposition party has 48.18 percent. The AK party also looks set to win in the economic hub of greater Istanbul. Big AK party losses were projected to be the cities of Izmir, Antalya, Adana, and Bursa, according to earlier media reports.

AK Party candidate for Istanbul mayor and former prime minister Binali Yildirim said Sunday he had won the election but his opposition rival Ekrem Imamoglu said the declaration was premature, stressing that the votes were still being counted, according to Reuters.

According to Reuters, Turkey's main opposition party appeared to be on course to seize control of Ankara in local elections and defeat the AK party in the capital for the first time since Erdogan came to power 16 years ago.

Meanwhile Turkey's main opposition party (Republican People's Party) chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu said his party's candidates had won in all three of the country's biggest cities in Sunday's mayoral elections according to his party's data, Reuters reports.

READ MORE: Erdogan Condemns Armed Scuffles at Municipal Elections in Turkey

Turkish citizens voted Sunday to elect mayors of cities, provincial capitals and municipal districts, as well as local assembly representatives and village administrators. Candidates from 13 political parties are running in the elections, including the opposition Nation Alliance led by the Republican People's Party (CHP), and the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), in alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The past few elections ended in the AKP and the MHP winning with slightly over a half of the vote. Sunday's elections are seen to be crucial in a polarized political landscape in Turkey, following recent a recent currency crisis and increased unemployment rates that have left many Turkish nationals critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The final results of the elections will elect mayors and officials in over 81 of Turkey's municipalities, 49 of which are currently governed by Erdogan's AK Party.

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