Turkish lira firms by 1.5 percent after opposition’s İstanbul mayoral victory

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A picture taken in Istanbul on May 23, 2018 shows Turkish lira and US dollars banknotes. Turkey's embattled lira on May 23, 2018 hit new historic lows against the US dollar after suffering a hammering in Asian trade, as markets watched to see if the central bank takes emergency action to buttress the currency. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

The Turkish lira on Monday gained nearly 1.5 percent in value against the US dollar after a clear opposition win in the İstanbul mayoral race, the Diken news website reported.

The stock market also rose by 1.8 percent, to 95,671 points.

In Sunday’s repeat election, the opposition’s İstanbul candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won by some 9 percent over his rival Binali Yıldırım, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate.

İmamoğlu had finished ahead by some 15,000 votes in the March 31 İstanbul mayoral election, the results of which were canceled by Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) in early May.

Many observers felt his win signaled hope for Turkey’s democracy, which has been undermined by the one-party rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for years.

The lira was valued at 5.72 to the dollar on Monday afternoon.

However, Turkey’s strained relationship with the US over the purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system is a large stress factor for the national currency.

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