Istanbul Elects Opposition’s Imamoglu Mayor Defying Turkey’s President Erdogan

Istanbul Elects Opposition’s Imamoglu Mayor Defying Turkey’s President Erdogan

The re-run of the mayoral vote in Turkey’s largest city has solidified the unfavorable local election results for the ruling party AKP.

Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem Imamoglu has been elected Mayor of Turkey’s largest city Istanbul in a major blow to President Recep Erdogan and his ruling party AKP.

Imamoglu won on Sunday, June 23, 2019, the re-run of Istanbul’s Mayor election with a comfortable lead, after his narrow win of the original vote on March 31 was annulled as the AKP claimed there had been irregularities in the electoral process.

With more than 10.5 million eligible voters and a voter turnout of 84.4%, Imamoglu received 54.2% of the cast votes, or more than 4,700,000 votes, while the ruling party candidate, Erdogan’s close ally and former Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim remained second with 45% of the votes, or over 3,900,000 votes.

Compared with Imamoglu’s lead of some 800,000 votes in the re-run, his win on March 31 was far less convincing, with a lead of only 13,000 votes, and an overall score of 48.8% vs. Yildirim’s 48.5%.

Back then Turkey’s electoral board annulled the results on grounds that there were polling clerks who were not civil servants, Hurriyet Daily News reminds.

Turkey’s local elections in March were as a whole considered a blow to Erdogan as opposition candidates also won the capital Ankara as well as larger cities along the Mediterranean coast.

“You have protected our tradition of democracy, dating back a hundred years. Thank you, fellow Istanbul residents,” Imamoglu said during his election night press conference.

“Mr. President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan], I am ready to work in harmony with you. I convey from here my request to meet with you as soon as possible,” he added.

“Turkey won this election, not a single party. You will see it with time. I will not marginalize anyone. For me, a duty order awaits. This is the most precious, honorable and proud duty in my whole life,” he stressed.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), declared Imamoglu’s victory in Instanbul’s mayoral election to be a victory for democracy.

“Everyone who believes in democracy is proud of Turkey today. The whole world, who believe in democracy, is proud of Turkey. People who believe in democracy, those who advocate democracy to the end, everyone, but everyone, is proud of you,” he said in a speech in Ankara after his candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu grabbed victory.

“I don’t want anyone to feel sad. Do not forget, today the victor is democracy. The victor is the Republic of Turkey. The victors are [modern Turkey’s founder] Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk] and his friends,” he added

Turkish President Recep Erdogan did congratulate Imamoglu on his election win in Istanbul but in a Twitter post.

“I congratulate Ekrem İmamoğlu, who won the election according to the unofficial results,” Erdogan said in a tweet yesterday.

He also made it clear that the election alliance of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would be preserved.

(Banner image: Ekrem Imamoglu on Twitter)

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