FT: “TURKEY’S OPPOSITION WINS RERUN OF ISTANBUL ELECTION”
“A political gamble by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan backfired spectacularly on Sunday as the opposition won a resounding victory in the repeat of an Istanbul mayoral election. Ekrem Imamoglu, the opposition challenger in a race for control of Turkey’s biggest and most important city, had won the contest in a previous vote but was stripped of his narrow victory after claims of fraud by Mr Erdogan’s ruling party. On Sunday, preliminary results showed that the 49-year-old former district mayor not only won the rerun of the vote but massively increased his majority.
Following the result, Mr. Erdogan moved to dampen speculation that a second defeat could raise questions about his alliance with the ultranationalist National Movement party (MHP) — or lead to early presidential elections. He said that the alliance would continue to work towards its common goals on the path towards 2023, the centenary of the founding of the Turkish republic and the year of the next scheduled election. That message was echoed by the MHP leader, Devlet Bahceli. “Turkey should now return to its real agenda, the election process should close,” Mr. Bahceli said. “Talking of an early election would be among the worst things that can be done to our country.” Those reassurances will be greeted with relief by foreign investors, who warn that the government desperately needs to focus on tackling the deeprooted problems in the economy rather than never-ending elections. Sunday’s vote was Turkey’s 11th election or referendum since the start of 2009.”