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Opposition candidate leads in Istanbul’s mayoral vote: Early results

Istanbul mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ekrem Imamoglu (C-R) casts his vote with his wife, Dilek Imamoglu (C), and their son Semih Imamoglu, in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 23, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Early results from the re-run of Istanbul’s mayoral election shows that Ekrem Imamoglu, from Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP), has defeated Binali Yildirim, from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party.

According to the preliminary results released by the Supreme Election Council on Sunday evening, Imamoglu managed to secure 53.86 percent of the votes, whereas Yildirim garnered 45.23 percent.

Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency also said that the early results came after more than 95 percent of the ballots were counted by the council.

“According to the result as of now, my competitor Ekrem Imamoglu is leading the race. I congratulate him and wish him good luck,” Yildirim said in a brief statement, adding, “We will try to support him in every work he will do on behalf of the people of Istanbul.”

Imamoglu, for his part, promised “a new beginning” for Istanbul, expressing his willingness to work with President Erdogan.

Polling in the re-run of the mayoral election in Istanbul — Turkey’s largest city — opened on Sunday morning and closed in the afternoon. Voters cast their ballots at 31,186 stations across the city’s 39 districts.

The previous run was narrowly won by Imamoglu, a former district mayor, with only 13,000 votes more than Yildirim.

However, Turkey’s High Election Board invalidated the results in May, citing irregularities. The CHP candidate lambasted the move as “treacherous” at the time and vowed to fight on. But he ultimately agreed to the re-run.

Municipal elections took place across Turkey on March 31. They marked the first ballot box test for Erdogan since he was re-elected last year under a new system of government, which has given the president sweeping powers.

Although the AKP succeeded in securing over 51 percent of the votes nationally, it lost the race in Ankara, Izmir, and Istanbul — which is also Erdogan’s home city and where he once served as mayor.

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