Ekrem Imamoglu caused a political earthquake in recent local elections in Turkey when he won the Istanbul mayorship, ending 25 years of domination by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, in a controversial move, Turkey's election board annulled the March vote and ordered a re-run. Now the ousted mayor is at the center of a political storm.
Imamoglu, of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), claims his short tenure was enough to uncover gross overspending and waste by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), ammunition that he is set to use in the June 23 re-vote.
During his 19 days in office, Imamoglu toured the city and held mass rallies, where he repeated his pledge to bridge Turkey's deep political divide and bring about good governance.
The rallies were in many ways preparing for another election, with the widely held expectation Erdogan's ruling AKP would not accept the loss of Turkey's most important city, by a mere 13,000 votes.
This month the High Electoral Board made up of mainly Erdogan appointees upheld the AKP's claims of fraud and irregularities. The move drew national and international condemnation.
Source : VOA