March 31, 2019 / 8:40 PM / 6 months ago

Turkey's AKP candidate declares victory in Istanbul, opposition says premature

Binali Yildirim, mayoral candidate of the ruling AK Party, delivers a speech after voting in the municipal elections, outside a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s ruling AK Party (AKP) candidate for Istanbul mayor said he had won Sunday’s election but his opposition rival said the declaration was premature.

Speaking after more than 98 percent of ballot boxes had been opened, AKP candidate and former prime minister Binali Yildirim said his party had won. Opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu dismissed Yildirim’s statement as a “manipulation” and said that votes were still being counted.

Turkish broadcasters said the latest count, with 98.8 percent of ballot boxes opened, showed Yildirim with a razor-thin lead having secured 4,111,219 votes against Imamoglu’s 4,106,776.

Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans

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