Turkey’s secularist main opposition party mayor-elect Ekrem Imamoglu finally received the official mandate to be the Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor on Wednesday, following a recount of votes 17 days after last month’s election.
Imamoglu who has previously urged the authorities and the ruling AK Party (AKP) to concede defeat in Istanbul, announced via his official Twitter account that he was heading through to receive the keys of Turkey’s largest city.
“I am granting the mandate on behalf of 16 million people of Istanbul,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayor wrote.
His declaration of victory came a day after President Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP formally appealed to the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) for an annulment and rerun of Istanbul’s mayoral election.
Being the ruler of the city for 25 years along with its predecessors, AKP refused to concede defeat in Istanbul and accused the opposition of vote fraud.
“There is clearly organized unlawfulness, an election fraud here. The only authority that can end this controversy is the YSK,” Ali Ihsan Yavuz, the AKP’s Deputy Chairman, told reporters on Tuesday.
He claimed if all the votes in the city had been recounted, the election would have resulted in AKP’s favor. Only 10 percent of the votes have been recounted based on AKP’s objections, which did not grant a win for the party.
According to the official results of YSK, Imamoglu has won the election 13,900 votes ahead of AKP’s candidate Binali Yildirim.
AKP’s appeal to YSK for not giving Imamoglu his mayoral mandate before the election body announced its decision for a possible rerun is still pending.
According to Imamoglu, AKP’s claim of fraud was to “cover up their defeat.”
CHP officially receives the “keys” to Istanbul
On Wednesday, the new Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu was handed a certificate mounted in a gold frame, as a sign he had been formally granted his mandate, during a ceremony at an Istanbul court.
Hundreds of his supporters chanted and celebrated the opposition party’s victory.
Baris Yarkadas, a CHP MP shared a photo on his Twitter account showing Imamoglu signing the mandate.
İmamoğlu'nun mazbatayı imzalama an'ı… pic.twitter.com/DFeqU3AVxx
— Barış Yarkadaş (@barisyarkadas) April 17, 2019
— Melvyn Ingleby (@MelvynIngleby) April 17, 2019