Ousted Istanbul mayor sees election re-run as battle for democracy

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 9, 2019 - Duration: 02:30s

Ousted Istanbul mayor sees election re-run as battle for democracy

Ousted Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said on Thursday that next month's mayoral election re-run will be a symbol for Turkey's democracy, and hoped to "put right the theft" following the annulment of the March 31 vote.

Emily Wither reports.

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Ousted Istanbul mayor sees election re-run as battle for democracy

He was Turkey first opposition mayor in 25 years but was only in office for three weeks.

The ousted mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, says next month's re-run election will be a battle for Turkey's democracy.

A battle that he believes he'll still win.

These were just local elections but they've became an international story, seen as a test for Turkey's President, Tayyip Erdogan.

He launched his own political career as Istanbul's mayor.

He's backing the election re-run, alleging the vote last march was marred by, quote, "organized corruption".

The High Election Board cited irregularities in the appointment of polling station officials when they decided to annul the vote.

Imamoglu calls the move a theft of his earlier victory over Erdogan's AK Party.

(SOUNDBITE) ISTANBUL'S OUSTED MAYOR, EKREM IMAMOGLU, SAYING: "All I am thinking about now is to put right the theft which democracy was subjected to, to give Istanbul the government it deserves.

Besides that, let me say this.

It's clear that if a person determines his political career himself, it will not work.

In politics, the society determines your roadmap.

Right now, Istanbul has given me a duty and has crowned that with a struggle for democracy.

That is all I am focused on." After the decision Monday (May 6) a spontaneous protest broke out.

Residents rattled pot and pans across the city.

Locals are now canceling holiday bookings for the weekend of June 23rd to make sure they can vote, while municipalities are putting out spoof warnings for some popular holiday resorts.

This one warns of heavy snow in Bodrum, while another beach resort says temperatures will be 150 degrees.

Airlines and travel agencies are allowing people to reschedule flights for free.

But behind such jokes is a serious message this is an election where every vote counts.

In a city of some 15 million people, the opposition won the mayoral race by just 13 thousand votes.

Imamoglu says his brief time at city hall has uncovered high levels of government wastefulness.

He'll now be highlighting that as he goes back on the campaign trail.

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