Blow to Turkey's Erdogan as opposition wins big in Istanbul

U.S. | 6/23/2019 | Ezgi Erkoyun
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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s main opposition claimed a decisive victory on Sunday in Istanbul’s re-run election, dealing one of the biggest blows to President Tayyip Erdogan during his 16 years in power and promising a new beginning in the country’s largest city.

Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), was leading with 54% of votes versus 45% for Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) candidate, with more than 99% of ballots opened, Turkish broadcasters said.

Election - Istanbul - Second - Months - Results

The election was Istanbul’s second in three months after results of an initial March vote were scrapped, setting up the do-over as a test of Turks’ ability to check what many saw as their president’s increasingly authoritarian power.

“Today, 16 million Istanbul residents have renewed our faith in democracy and refreshed our trust in justice,” Imamoglu told supporters.

AKP - Opponent - Prime - Minister - Binali

His AKP opponent, former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, congratulated him and wished him “all the luck” in serving Istanbul, Turkey’s commercial hub. Erdogan also tweeted his congratulations to the CHP candidate.

Imamoglu had won the original mayoral election on March 31 by a narrow margin, which prompted the Islamist-rooted AKP to demand a re-run, citing what it said were voting irregularities.

High - Election - Board - Decision - Request

The High Election Board’s decision to grant that request drew sharp criticism from Turkey’s Western allies and from Erdogan’s opponents at home, stirring concerns about the rule of law and raising the stakes for the re-run.

Broadcasters put the CHP’s lead on Sunday at about 800,000 votes, eclipsing the roughly 13,000-vote margin in March.

Election - Board - Election - Results

The election board said it would announce the election results as soon as possible.

“While March 31 was a mayoral election, this re-run was one to put an end to the dictatorship,” said Gulcan Demirkaya, 48, from the city’s AKP-leaning Kagithane district.

God - Imamoglu - President - Years - Time

“God willing, I would like to see (Imamoglu) as the president in five years’ time,” she said. “The...
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