Istanbul’s new mayor formally takes office for second time

ISTANBUL: Opposition politician Ekrem Imamoglu on Thursday took office as mayor of Istanbul for the second time, four days after his decisive victory in a rerun forced by the ruling party.
The local electoral authority gave Imamoglu his official mandate at the Caglayan court house. He is later expected at city hall for a handover ceremony and speech.
Imamoglu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), won 54.21 per cent of votes in Sunday’s redo election, the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) said in announcing its preliminary official results.
Parties have until next week to file their objections, after which the final results are expected.
Binali Yildirim of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) got 44.99 per cent of votes.
The local election was seen as a major test for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP after they narrowly lost control of the prized mayoral post in Turkey’s most-populous city and financial capital on March 31.
That election was won by Imamoglu, but he was thrown out of office in 18 days, after the AKP alleged irregularities and the YSK obliged by annulling that result and ordering a rerun.
Imamoglu, 49, businessman-turned-politician, defeated Yildirim, 63, a former prime minister, by nearly 14,000 votes in March, but trounced him by more than 800,000 votes on Sunday.
The AKP still controls the local parliament.
“The decision by the people of Istanbul is more than welcome,”Erdogan told an AKP meeting on Tuesday, in his first public remarks after the election. — dpa