The Republican People's Party (CHP) won, fair and square, against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in major cities including Antalya, Adana and the capital Ankara. Yet the mayoral race in Istanbul was heavily contested.
The votes were split nearly 50-50 between the two candidates. During the partial recount, it became clear that 90 percent of all annulled votes had gone to Binali Yıldırım. Under normal circumstances, one would expect cancelled votes to be split similarly.
Although the AK Party requested a full recount, the Supreme Election Council (YSK) ruled in favor of the CHP's objection, leaving the vast majority of cancelled votes uncounted. Had the electoral authority permitted a complete recount, Yıldırım could have won the race. Yet this old debate has been rendered obsolete by the CHP's victory in yesterday's election.
It is possible that voters did not agree with the necessity of a rerun. Such assumptions remain subject to confirmation pending the official results.
What we know definitely is that Turkey is a democratic country, where the ruling party can lose the nation's most important city, Istanbul, in an election. At the same time, we remember that the AK Party, together with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), received between 52 and 54 percent of the vote in recent general and municipal elections.
Moving forward, we will watch the CHP leadership trying to overcome the challenges of being in charge and governing with a multitude of partners. We will also see how the AK Party will perform as Istanbul's opposition party.