24 June 2019 16:24

Ekrem İmamoğlu rewins the rerun election in Istanbul with a majority close to 10%

Istanbulites went to the polls again following the annulment of the elections for Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor on the grounds that certain polling station officials were public servants.

Photograph: Ekrem İmamoğlu Press Office

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In the elections that were rerun out of an objection by the AKP and coup by the Supreme Electoral Council (SEC), the opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won by a clear margin. İmamoğlu, who was in the lead from the moment the ballot boxes were opened, increased his majority to nearly 10%. According to unofficial results, the CHP’s candidate İmamoğlu took 54.31% of the vote and the AKP’s candidate Binali Yıldırım 44.80%.

PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE GARNERS ITS LOWEST VOTE

Going by the unofficial results of the 23 June election, the People’s Alliance formed by the AKP and MHP, with the approximately 45% that it gained, garnered the lowest vote in the four elections it has contested in Istanbul. The CHP finished in the lead in many sub-provinces that the AKP won in the 31 March local elections. İmamoğlu topped the poll in six such sub-provinces according to the unofficial results: Üsküdar, Sancaktepe, Silivri, Bayrampaşa, Fatih and Beyoğlu.

In Büyükçekmece and Maltepe, the main butt of the AKP’s claims of bogus votes and irregularities in the 31 March election, Ekrem İmamoğlu increased his majority in the 23 June election.

KEMAL KILIÇDAROĞLU: EVERYTHING WAS JUST FINE

After the results of the Istanbul election became known, CHP General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu posted on his social media account, “We said everything would be just fine and everything was just fine.”

EKREM İMAMOĞLU: A FRESH START

Having won the rerun election, Ekrem İmamoğlu, noting that this was a fresh start, said, “Waste, ostentation, conceit and polarization will end in Istanbul. Today, sixteen million Istanbulites refreshed our faith in democracy.”

Ekrem İmamoğlu made a press statement at the CHP’s electoral coordination centre in Seyrantepe. Thanking those who contributed with their labour in the election, İmamoğlu commented, “We are on the side of the clock of democracy always being in full working order in Turkey. Unfortunately, the clock of democracy wasn’t working on the evening of 31 March. All our people know everything that happened. I don’t propose going into detail. But you can never ever prevent the flow of time by stopping the clocks. You can never ever hide the truths by concealing them. The citizenry has billed a handful of people for what has been visited on this country from 31 March until today. This does not amount to a fresh page being opened in Istanbul. It amounts to everyone in Istanbul opening a fresh and joint page. It amounts to a fresh beginning. Waste, ostentation, conceit and polarization will end in Istanbul. Today, sixteen million Istanbulites refreshed our faith in democracy. This has been attained not just by those who voted for me but all citizens who brought off the election with great maturity. I impart my feelings of gratitude to our people.”

Also thanking the CHP and Good Party general chairs, alongside HDP voters, İmamoğlu thanked MHP and AKP voters and voters of all political parties. Noting that unlike parties their leaders were not sacred, İmamoğlu declared, “A party chair, a mayor or a president make no difference. It is never correct to make them sacred. It is the nation that is the greatest because sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the nation.” Calling out to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, İmamoğlu said the following: “The importance of coordinated effort between central and local authorities over Istanbul’s urgent problems such as earthquake preparation, making a faster metro and refugee issues is compelling. All the things we’re talking about are the needs of sixteen million of our citizens.”

MERAL AKŞENER: NOTHING WILL BE LIKE IT WAS

Good Party General Chair Meral Akşener commented on the election results at her party’s Provincial Headquarters. She noted, “Istanbulites have once more stood up for their will and proclaimed that they will not let a kick be delivered to the ballot box. Our nation has said, ‘Hold on there, the word and decision is the nation’s’ to those who state, ‘I’ve acted and that’s that.’ Our history of democracy is replete with lessons our nation itself has delivered to those who have dismissed the will of the people. Our nation has given a reproachful tug of the ear to this mentality. It has bruised Istanbul a bit. Now we are here and nothing will be like it was.”

BİNALİ YILDIRIM CONGRATULATED İMAMOĞLU

AKP candidate for Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Binali Yıldırım was the first candidate to appear before the cameras. Yıldırım congratulated the CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu.

At a press conference held at the AKP Istanbul Provincial Headquarters, Binali Yıldırım commented on the election. Noting that Ekrem İmamoğlu was in the lead in the election, Yıldırım said, “I congratulate him. I wish him success.” Thanking those who had accompanied him in the election campaign, Yıldırım remarked, “Talk of elections is talk of democracy. And these elections have once more displayed that democracy operates in the best way and flawlessly in Turkey. Of course, the results that have been obtained will be announced later in final form.” Hoping that the election result would bode well for Istanbul and Istanbul’s future, Yıldırım commented, “I hope that from now on our friend Ekrem İmamoğlu will deliver good services to Istanbul. In the efforts he makes, we’ll endeavour to assist him in efforts of all kinds that are for Istanbulites’ benefit. I also want him to know this.”

HDP CO-CHAIR TEMELLİ: THERE’S A NEED FOR PEACE AND A NEW CONSTITUTION

HDP Co-Chair Sezai Temelli said having cast his vote in the rerun Istanbul election, “Let everyone place peace, democracy and the will of the peoples to live together in their saddle bag. We will continue on this road until attaining a democratic republic in this common homeland of ours.”

TAYYİP ERDOĞAN ALSO CONGRATULATED EKREM İMAMOĞLU

President Tayyip Erdoğan tweeted as follows, congratulating the CHP's Ekrem İmamoğlu on his victory in the election for Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor: “I hope the results of the rerun election for Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor will bode well for our Istanbul. The will of the people has manifested itself once more. I congratulate Ekrem İmamoğlu who according to the unofficial results has won the election.”

CRITICISM OF THE PARTY IN THE AKP RANKS

AKP Group Deputy Chair Bülent Turan summed up the CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu’s victory in the race for Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor as per the unofficial results. Turan said, “It is a period for calculation and scrutiny for those in this cherished city who have upset its leader, base and the millions whose heart is in Istanbul! We’re not upping sticks and going.” And former Ankara Metropolitan Mayor Melih Gökçek, who was ousted by his party, tweeted, “I have always said as Melih Gökçek ... Politics cannot be conducted irrespective of the people ... Given that the nation has made such a decision, we must lend the people an ear and continue on our way seeing the errors in our politics. A single misfortune is more effective than a thousand warnings.”

THE WORLD SPEAKS: ERDOĞAN’S HEAVIEST DEFEAT

The world press heralded Ekrem İmamoğlu's Istanbul victory with stop press news. The analysis made concludes that the result was the heaviest defeat of President Erdoğan’s political career. Some of the most notable comments are as follow:

The UK’s autonomous broadcasting organization the BBC noted, “It was a disastrous miscalculation for Erdoğan who has said ‘Whoever wins Istanbul wins Turkey.’”

The British newspaper The Guardian, saying, the AKP’s loss of Istanbul to the CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu was a personal blow for the president, commented the elections will, “have dramatic consequences for president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on the country.”

The US New York Times newspaper said in a report, “Erdogan of Turkey suffered the biggest defeat of his political career.” (EVRENSEL DAILY)

(Translated by Tim DRAYTON)