Millions vote for new mayor of Istanbul | News -

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Millions of Istanbul residents began voting on Sunday (June 23, 2019) in the re-election of the mayor, which has become a referendum on the policies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a test of Turkey's faltering democracy.

Polling stations opened all over Istanbul at 8 am local time. Some 10.56 million people are eligible to vote in the city, which makes up about one-fifth of Turkey's 82 million people. The voting ends at 5 pm. Results will be announced in the evening.

Akram Emamoglu, 49, of the secular Republican People's Party (CHP), defeated Ben Ali Yildirim, 63, of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) by 13,729 votes in a municipal election on March 31.

On May 6, the Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey canceled the vote in line with the demands of the conservative Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP), which claimed irregularities and ordered the re-election. Imoğlu was forced to leave office only 18 days later. The opposition called the decision a "coup" against democracy.

Erdogan repeated his belief that "whoever wins in Istanbul wins Turkey." The loss of the city will again be critical for Erdogan and may weaken what until recently appeared to be his iron fist for power. Erdogan himself served as mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s.

(Reuters)

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