Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu is the new mayor. Erdogan loses (again) the metropolis
The leader of the secular opposition defeats the president's candidate with an even higher margin than the March administrative election. He obtained 54% of the votes, compared to 45% of former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Citizens in celebration invade streets and squares of the city. The most serious electoral defeat for the Sultan.
Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - From the cautious optimism of the early hours, to the celebrations in the streets and squares of the metropolis when the result of the vote was clear: thus Istanbul, and its inhabitants, welcomed the victory of the opposition candidate for mayor Ekrem Imamoglu who beat - for the second time - the former Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and strong man of the "sultan" Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A triumph obtained with a margin of 775 thousand votes, much larger than the 13 thousand of last March.
Several young people traveled the heart of the country's economic and commercial capital, proudly waving the national flag. Some showed images of Atatürk, the founding father of the republican. Still others wore masks with the face of the new mayor Imamoglu, the author of this widely anticipated, but unexpected success.
"A lot of young people, desperate, want to leave Turkey" declared 22 year old university student Ayca Yilmaz, among the many young people in the square to celebrate. "But now - he adds - we could consider staying. We are full of hope again ".
According to the official results released by the Anadolu agency after 99% of the ballots examined, Imamoglu obtained 54.03% of preferences against 45.09% for President Erdogan's candidate, considered the real loser of this new election. The opposition was able to triumph with an even greater margin than the administrative vote of 31 March, canceled after the appeal of the ruling party AKP (and supported by Erdogan) for alleged fraud and irregularity.
Ekrem Imamoglu, a former manager of the family-owned construction company, one of the second lines of the Social Democratic and secular Republican party CHP, so far unknown to the general public, has succeeded where others have failed for 20 years: beating Erdogan, the a man who with the excuse of the failed coup of July 2016 has restricted individual freedoms, put a grip on the country and imprisoned tens of thousands of people.
Now the errors of the "sultan" are beginning to weigh down with the loss of Istanbul, the most important city in the country for 25 years in the hands of the AKP. A wrong calculation that could deal a decisive blow to its image internally and internationally. In recent weeks, Erdogan himself had declared that "whoever wins in Istanbul, wins in Turkey". This is why analysts and experts agree in considering the vote of the metropolis the worst electoral defeat of the president.
In his first speech after the vote, the 49-year-old Imamoglu - who during the election campaign was able to launch positive messages accompanied by smiles - stressed that these elections represent "a new beginning" for the city and the country. "We are opening - he added - a new chapter in Istanbul. And in this new chapter, there will be justice, equality, love". He added that he wanted to work together with Erdogan: "Mr. President - he concluded - I am ready to cooperate with you in a spirit of harmony".