Turkey's main opposition party candidate has officially won Istanbul's mayoral seat on Wednesday, after the city's electoral board decided that he was the winner of the March 31 local polls, despite objections by Turkey's ruling party.
Ekrem Imamoglu, the Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate, received the mandate at the board headquarters, with a large crowd of supporters celebrating outside the building in the Istanbul district of Caglayan.
Initial results of the polls showed that Imamoglu won the race in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city and economic hub, by a small margin, ending 15 years of domination by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development (AK) Party.
Imamoglu’s definitive victory comes following repeated appeal requests from the AK Party to recount the votes, with Erdogan requesting on Tuesday a rerun of elections across the entire city.
In the 16 days that followed the initial counting, votes have been recounted in dozens of Istanbul’s districts, multiple times in some of them.
Today’s announcement means the AK Party has lost mayoral elections in the country's three largest cities - Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir – delivering a big blow to Erdogan’s party.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday made his most decisive comments on the ongoing crisis over the initial results of Istanbul mayoral elections, alleging that "organised crime" had occurred at the polls.
"We are seeing that some organised crimes have been carried out," he claimed at a press conference on 8 April.