Turkey: Ekrem Imamoglu becomes new Istanbul mayor

Following a number of recounts from Turkey's local elections last month, the Istanbul mayoral candidate from the main opposition party on Wednesday received his certificate of election from electoral authorities.

Ekrem Imamoglu of the Republican People's Party (CHP) was awarded the certificate of election at Caglayan Courthouse, where the Istanbul Election Council is located, to become mayor of Istanbul.

The certificate followed recounts in districts of the metropolis such as Maltepe, Buyukcekmece, and Fatih.

Speaking to reporters at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality building, Imamoglu said: I've received the certificate of the election on behalf of the 16 million people [of Istanbul].

We are aware of our responsibility. We know the needs of this city. We know the demands of all the people living in this city and we will immediately start serving them.

All departments of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality have been transparently opened to the people as of today, he added.

Over ongoing appeals of the election results, the newly elected mayor said: We are waiting for clear statements from the related councils immediately for the peace and happiness of people living in our city.

'Sacred' duties

Later, Imamoglu took over the office from his predecessor, Mevlut Uysal, who wished him good luck with his new duties.

Calling his duties sacred, Imamoglu said: We will be surely honored to serve [Istanbul] during our tenure.

On Twitter, Binali Yildirim, Istanbul mayoral candidate of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, wrote: The Provincial Election Council has given the certificate of election to Mr. Imamoglu. I hope the decision will bring well-being.

Our party continues to use its legal rights. The YSK [Supreme Election Council] has the final say, he added, hinting that legal challenges to the race may continue.

On Monday, Yildirim had said that it was "clear" that his votes had been stolen during the March 31 elections and gone to Imamoglu.

The regional election council that awarded Imamoglu's certificate is part of the top election body.

Millions of Turkish voters cast their votes nationwide on March 31 in local elections to choose the nation's mayors, city council members, mukhtars (neighborhood officials), and members of elder councils for the next five years.

Contesting the results, the AK Party asked for a recount, saying the recount might change the results.

Source: Anadolu Agency