A new era began in İstanbul on Thursday as opposition mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu accepted the mandate to serve as the mayor of Turkey’s financial powerhouse after winning a repeat election in İstanbul on Sunday.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayoral candidate İmamoğlu garnered around 54 percent of the vote in İstanbul, while his rival, Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayoral candidate Binali Yıldırım, received some 45 percent.
İmamoğlu also won in the local elections held across Turkey on March 31 as the İstanbul mayoral candidate; however, his term as mayor lasted only 18 days as the Supreme Election Council annulled the results of the vote over an appeal filed by the AKP, citing irregularities in the election.
On Thursday İmamoğlu accepted the mandate from the İstanbul Provincial Election Board for a second time. He later went to the municipal building, located in the Saraçhane neighborhood of İstanbul, where a handover ceremony took place. İstanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya, who was appointed the acting mayor of the city, turned the office to İmamoğlu.
Delivering a speech to a huge crowd that gathered in front of city hall, İmamoğlu thanked everyone who supported him and promised his administration would treat all İstanbulities equally and would work for their happiness without discrimination.
The new mayor said he would do his best to prevent waste of the city’s sources and would launch a policy of conservation.
“As I promised [earlier], waste [of resources] will end in İstanbul and conservation will begin. I will make sure that the 16 million people of the city benefit from its resources. As I have accepted my mandate, I will dedicate myself to the people, children and youths of this city. I promise to work day and night for you,” said the new mayor.
İmamoğlu also asked İstanbulites to warn and criticize him whenever they think he is making a mistake and not let others who might be plotting against him achieve their goals.
With İmamoğlu’s victory the 25-year-long rule of the AKP and its predecessors ended in İstanbul.