Turkey’s main opposition party won in re-run mayoral election of Istanbul, after opposition candidate for Republican People’s Party (CHP), Ekrem Imamoglu won the vote.
Imamoglu achieved a surprise victory in March’s election which was annulled, following dozens of accusations of irregularities.
Approximately, eleven million registered voters eligible to cast ballots in Turkey’s largest city.
Imamoglu’s lead of more than 775,000 votes marks a huge increase on his victory in March, when he won by a margin of just 13,000, BBC reported on Sunday.
The opposition have gathered thousands of lawyers from across the country to monitor polling stations and various independent and citizen run organisations have launched platforms to cross-check the ballot counts.
The other real opponent in that poll was ex-PM Binali Yildirim, who is deemed the ruling AK party’s candidate.
On his part, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the head of the AK Party and a former Istanbul mayor himself, congratulated Imamoglu.
“I congratulate Ekrem Imamoglu who has won the election based on preliminary results,” he tweeted.
Imamoglu’s victory threatens Erdogan’s throne
The win for CHP saw power shift in Istanbul from the AK Party for the first time in 17 years, though Imamoglu was Istanbul’s mayor for only 18 days.
The AK party also lost to the opposition in the cities of Ankara and Izmir.
Erdogan knows that Imamoglu’s rise resembles what happened with him years ago, that the one who wins Istanbul in this election — as Imamoglu did — could claim the presidency in the next possible occasion, according to Turkish journalist Yavuz Baydar.
General elections are scheduled to be held in Turkey in 2023. Voters will elect a new president, as well as 600 members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, each for a term of five years.
“Erdogan and the circles that surround him know that Imamoglu will not hesitate to make public all the corruption, dirty public tenders and cronyism that have marked AKP rule over Istanbul for 25 years.” Baydar wrote a few days before the rerun.
Moreover, the winner counted on a growing dissatisfaction of Turks with the Erdogan government as the country is battling a severe economic and moving away from democratic standards and towards authoritarianism.
“Turkey has continued to move further away from the European Union,” the EU Commission said in its annual report, released May 29, on Ankara’s progress towards membership. Accession talks had “effectively come to a standstill,” the report said.