In a major blow to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem Imamoglu has declared victory in the rerun of Istanbul’s mayoral election.
Initial results show Mr Imamoglu is set for a clear win with 54 per cent of votes with nearly all ballots counted. The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) candidate and former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim conceded defeat with 45 per cent of votes.
In his victory speech, Mr Imamoglu said the result marked a new beginning for both the city and the country. CHP’s projected win in the Istanbul election ends the 17-year rule by the AK Party in the metropolis. The result is being seen as a major setback for Mr Erdogan, who had previously said that whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey.
The Istanbul mayoral election was first held on March 31, when Mr Imamoglu secured 48.8 per cent of the votes, while the AK Party’s Yildirim held 48.55 per cent. The AK Party proceeded to file an extraordinary objection to the results, leading the Supreme Electoral Council to annul the results and schedule Sunday’s rerun.