Opposition Victory in Istanbul Challenges Turkish President’s Authority
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suffered a major defeat after the opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, won a landslide victory in Sunday's re-run mayoral elections in Istanbul.
Imamoglu, from the Republican People's Party, CHP, received 54 per cent of total votes cast and finished the race nearly 800,000 votes ahead of his rival according to semi-official results.
"I thank 16 million Istanbulites. No political party or a person won this election; Turkey has won - Turkish democracy has won! Istanbulites have protected democracy!" Imamoglu declared after the first results were announced.
Former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, the joint candidate of President Erdogan's ruling coalition, received 45 per cent of votes cast, less than in the first round of voting on March 31.
"I congratulate my rival and I wish him all the best," Yildirim said, accepting the defeat shortly after the first results were released.
"The nation's will is manifested again today. I congratulate Ekrem Imamoglu who won the elections, according to unofficial results," President Erdogan wrote on twitter.
Significantly, the President did not speak in front of the cameras after the election, as is his usual practice.
İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediye Başkanlığı yenileme seçimi sonuçlarının İstanbul'umuz için hayırlara vesile olmasını diliyorum. Milli irade bugün bir kez daha tecelli etmiştir. Gayrı resmi sonuçlara göre seçimi kazanan Ekrem İmamoğlu'nu tebrik ediyorum.
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) June 23, 2019
The results of the March 31 local elections in Turkey's biggest city and economic powerhouse were cancelled after Erdogan's coalition complained of irregularities, following its defeat. Imamoglu polled...