Ekrem Imamoglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) received his certificate of election from electoral authorities and was declared Istanbul’s mayor on Wednesday after election recounts were finally completed, despite an appeal still pending by President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party to rerun the vote in the country’s largest city.
Ekrem Imamoglu, Turkey’s main opposition candidate was awarded the certificate of election at Caglayan Courthouse, where the Istanbul Election Council is located, to become mayor of Istanbul. The certificate followed recounts in districts of the metropolis such as Maltepe, Buyukcekmece, and Fatih.
The final result of the March 31 local elections showed a narrow victory for the secularist opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Turkey’s commercial hub, ending 25 years of control by the AK Party (AKP) and its Islamist predecessors.
The loss is especially hard for Erdogan, who launched his political career in Istanbul as mayor in the 1990s and has triumphed in more than a dozen elections since his Islamist-rooted AKP came to power in 2002.
The Turkish lira, which has dipped since the election, firmed on Wednesday.
As he formally took office after a campaign which featured months of harsh rhetoric from Erdogan’s AK Party and more than two weeks of challenges and recounts, Ekrem Imamoglu promised to work for all 16 million residents of the city.
“I’ve received the certificate of the election on behalf of the 16 million people [of Istanbul]. We never gave up, we never gave up on our battle for democracy and rights. We are aware of our responsibility. We know the needs of this city. We know the demands of all the people living in this city and we will immediately start serving them. All departments of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality have been transparently opened to the people as of today,” Imamoglu said.
Imamoglu’s margin of victory – the final count put him some 13,000 votes, or less than 0.2 percentage points, ahead of the AK Party candidate and former prime minister Binali Yildirim – prompted several AKP challenges.
On Tuesday, after 16 days of appeals and recounts, the AKP asked the High Election Board (YSK) to annul and rerun the election in Istanbul over what it said were irregularities. Its nationalist MHP allies made a similar request on Wednesday.
“We are aware there are ongoing processes… We hope the relevant authorities will complete these processes in the most sensitive and just way. We are waiting for clear statements from the related councils immediately for the peace and happiness of people living in our city,” Imamoglu said.
This article has been modified from its original source Reuters
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