16:40 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, June 13, 2017

    Erdogan Congratulates Opposition Candidate Imamoglu After Istanbul Mayoral Victory

    © REUTERS / Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Palace
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    In May, Ekrem Imamoglu won mayoral elections in Istanbul, but rival Binali Yildirim contested the results, and a new round was scheduled for 23 June. Following the second vote, Imamoglu won by an even larger margin.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted his congratulations to opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu on Sunday after the latter’s victory in the Istanbul mayoral elections.

    “I wish that the results of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality election will be beneficial for our Istanbul,” Erdogan tweeted. “National will has manifested once again today. I congratulate Ekrem Imamoglu, who won the election, according to the preliminary results.”

    ​With some 99 percent of ballots counted Sunday night, Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Imamoglu is ahead with 54 percent of votes, while Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Binali Yildirim received about 45 percent, according to Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.

    "It was not a single group or party, but the whole of Istanbul and Turkey that won this election," Imamoglu said in his victory speech, according to AFP. "Mr President, I am ready to work in harmony with you. I convey from here my request to meet with you in the shortest time possible.”

    In May, Imamoglu won the mayoral election by a margin of some 13,000 votes, but Yildirim contested the results citing electoral irregularities and a recording errors. New elections were scheduled for June and this time Imamoglu appears to have won by an even larger margin of approximately 775,000 votes, according to AFP.

    The Turkish president was formerly the mayor of Istanbul, between 1994-1998. Erdogan is known for the quote: “Whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey.” After the May election results were discarded, critics accused Erdogan of refusing to give up control of Istanbul, Turkey’s major economic hub, to the oppositional party. Despite Imamoglu’s mayoral victory, Erdogan’s AKP party still controls 24 of Istanbul’s 39 districts, according to March 2019 local elections results.


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