Opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu has taken the lead in a high-stakes rerun of Istanbul’s mayoral race. The results deal a blow to President Erdogan’s ruling party, who’d called for the controversial redo of the vote.
Opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu took the lead over the ruling party candidate in the repeat race for Istanbul’s mayor, according to initial results released on Sunday.
Imamoglu secured 54% of the vote while his rival, former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, garnered 45.1% of the vote with over 99% of the city’s ballots counted, according to results posted on Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.
Imamoglu, who is a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said his victory marked a “new beginning” for Turkey.
“It was not a single group or party, but the whole of Istanbul and Turkey that won this election,” the opposition politician said, adding that he was ready to work with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to solve the problems facing Istanbul.
Yildirim conceded defeat in the election shortly after the first results were announced, saying: “I congratulate him and wish him success.” Erdogan also offered his congratulations to the opposition candidate on Twitter.
Opposition supporters took to the streets of Istanbul following the release of the results, but his win still needs to be confirmed by Turkey’s electoral board, reported DW’s Julia Hahn.
Election officials decided to cancel the results of the first vote in March after Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) alleged that there had been cases of vote rigging and corruption.
In the first election, Imamoglu won by just 13,000 votes, with 48.8% of the vote, compared to Yildirim’s 48.5%.
Around 10 million people were eligible to vote in the rerun election, with unofficial results putting voter turnout at 84%.