With a clear victory, the 49-year-old Ekrem Imamoglu is the winner of the repeat municipal elections in Istanbul.
The opposition candidate won with a difference of about 773,000 votes against Binali Yildirim, who had the support of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP). “These elections were not won by us, but Istanbul and all of Turkey have won,” Imamoglu said in his statements just after the announcement of the outcome.
With 99% of ballots counted, Imamoglu received 54% of the vote against 45% of Yildirim.
Two hours after the closing of the ballots, Yildirim admitted his defeat and wished good luck to his opponent. He said the vote in the municipal elections proved that “Turkish democracy is working perfectly”.
“I wish our friend Ekrem Imamoglu to offer the best services in Istanbul. We will try to help him as best we can in his work. I hope the decision of the citizens of Istanbul to prove beneficial for the next 5 years,” he said.
Imamoglu said that “people sent the bill to those who were trying to hide the truth and prevented us from taking over the power”. He sent a message of cooperation to the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and stressed that “I am ready to work together to resolve the issues of the city and I expect to see you soon”.
The Turks supported the “injured party”
Political analysts estimate that the key factor in this big difference is that with the annulment of the outcome of the March 31 election, Imamoglu became a “victim” and the Turkish people always support the injured parties. Just as was the case with Erdogan many times, when the generals banned him for politics, but he continued to increase his rates. At the same time, the attack on the opposition candidate for his origins and the accusations that he is “Pontius” has allegedly brought additional votes from the people of Istanbul who originated from the Black Sea cities.
The political analyst of the newspaper Sozcu Deniz Zeirek says “AKP voters did not go to the polls and punished the party, since apart from Istanbul the issue of the economy played a role. The people also did not digest the intervention that was made in their choice and about 500,000 voters abandoned Binali Yildirim”.
Waiting for political developments
The resounding defeat in Istanbul may bring many developments within AKP. The ruling party lost its “castle”, which the Islamic movement had under its control since 1994 when Erdogan was elected mayor. The city of 18 million inhabitants and 10.5 million voters always determines the political developments in the country.
The situation in the AKP is worse as they observe that in municipal elections they lost Ankara, Antalya, Izmir and now Istanbul. These cities produce 55% of the wealth of Turkey and they are the home of almost 28 million people.
In Ankara they comment that Imamoglu’s big victory may be interpreted as the beginning of the decline for the AKP
Many are waiting for political developments within the government, such a reshuffle of the Cabinet.
However, there is little chance of holding national elections immediately, but no one can rule out the scenario of holding the elections earlier than 2023. In Turkey, before the elections, there was information of a new party that the former partners of Erdogan are trying to establish, such as former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and former president Abdullah Gul.
The Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) had declared void the municipal elections in Istanbul held on 31 March, as requested by the AKP, and ordered them to be repeated with the justification of some irregularities. Ekrem Imamoglu was then forced to leave his post after just 18 days in office.
The Turkish president in the coming days has to address the issue on the domestic political scene of the country, but at the same time to determine the future of Turkey’s foreign policy. On June 28, he will meet with Donald Trump at the G-20 summit to find a way of working with the United States, which are threatening Ankara with sanctions.
The Turkish president wants to find a way for Turkey to receive both the F-35 and the Russian S-400, which he claims will be delivered to Turkey in the next few days!/ibna