IN PHOTOS: Turkish Opposition Candidate Defeats Erdogan's Pick in Istanbul Election Rerun

Putting a celebratory end to weeks of political tension after Ekrem Imamoglu's March win in the city's mayoral race was annulled, jubilant supporters took to the streets, chanting 'Mayor again!'

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Ekrem Imamoglu, the candidate of the secular opposition Republican People's Party, CHP, waves to supporters at a rally in Istanbul, late Sunday, June 23, 2019
Ekrem Imamoglu, the candidate of the secular opposition Republican People's Party, CHP, waves to supporters at a rally in Istanbul, late Sunday, June 23, 2019Credit: Onur Gunay / AP

The opposition candidate for mayor of Istanbul celebrated a landmark win Sunday in a repeat election that ended weeks of political tension and broke the long hold President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party had on leading Turkey’s largest city.

“Thank you, Istanbul,” Ekrem Imamoglu said to the tens of thousands of people who gathered to mark his victory after unofficial results showed he won a clear majority of the vote.

Celebrations in Istanbul after Ekrem Imamoglu beats Erdogan's candidate, June 23, 2019Credit: Emrah Gurel / AP

The governing party’s candidate, former Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, conceded moments after returns showed him trailing well behind Imamoglu, 54 percent to 45 percent.

Imamoglu narrowly won an earlier mayoral election on March 31, but Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, AKP, challenged the vote over alleged irregularities. He spent 18 days in office before Turkey’s electoral board annulled the results after weeks of partial recounts.

The voided vote raised concerns domestically and abroad about the state of Turkish democracy and whether Erdogan’s party would accept any electoral loss. AKP has governed Turkey since 2002.

Jubilant supporters of Imamoglu chanted “Mayor again! Mayor again!” Others hung out of cars, blaring horns and waving red-and-white Turkish flags.

Supporters attend a rally of Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), in Beylikduzu district, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2019Credit: Kemal Aslan / REUTERS
Ekrem Imamoglu, the candidate of the secular opposition Republican People's Party, CHP, talks to supporters from atop his campaign bus during a celebratory rally in Istanbul, late Sunday, June 23, 201Credit: Onur Gunay / AP
Turkish people gather to celebrate after the Istanbul mayoral elections re-run, at Kadikoy in Istanbul, 23 June 2019Credit: Bulent Kilic / AFP
Turkish people gather to celebrate after the Istanbul mayoral elections re-run, 23 June 2019 Credit: Lefteris Piarakis,AP
Supporters of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) celebrate their mayoral election victory in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2019Credit: STRINGER / REUTERS
Turkish people gather to celebrate after the Istanbul mayoral elections re-run, 23 June 2019 Credit: AFP
Turkish people gather to wave flags and celebrate after the Istanbul mayoral elections re-run, at Kadikoy in Istanbul, June 23, 2019Credit: AFP
A person holds a portrait of Ekrem Imamoglu as people gather to to celebrate after the Istanbul mayoral elections re-run, at Kadikoy in Istanbul, 23 June 2019Credit: Bulent Kilic / AFP
Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), greets supporters at a rally of in Beylikduzu district, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 23, 2019Credit: Kemal Aslan / REUTERS

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