Istanbul mayoral re-run: Turkey's ruling AKP set to lose in blow for Erdogan

Binali Yildirim and Ekrem ImamogluImage copyright
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Image caption

Binali Yildirim (L) is an Erdogan loyalist while Mr Imamoglu is from the main opposition party

Turkey’s ruling party is set to lose control of Istanbul after a re-run of the mayoral election, initial results show.

The candidate for the main opposition party, Ekrem Imamoglu, has a commanding lead with more than 90% of votes counted.

He won a surprise victory in March which was annulled after the ruling AK party complained of irregularities.

The vote is being seen as a key test for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Mr Imamoglu had won 53.6% of the vote after nearly 95% of the ballots had been counted, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Who are the candidates?

Mr Imamoglu, 49, is from the secular Republican People’s Party and is mayor of Istanbul’s Beylikduzu district.

But his name was barely known before he ran for mayor in the March election.

His opponent, Binali Yildirim, was a founding member of Mr Erdogan’s AKP and was prime minister from 2016 until 2018, when Turkey became a presidential democracy and the role ceased to exist.

He was elected Speaker of the new parliament in February and before that served as minister of transportation and communication.