The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) mayoral candidate Mevlüt Uysal was elected Thursday by the Istanbul municipal council to replace former Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbaş.

Uysal was elected mayor after receiving 179 votes out of 309 in the third round, while his rival and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem Imamoğlu received a total of 125 votes. Four votes were deemed invalid, media sources reported.

The council could not announce a winner after the first and second round of voting, as no candidate received the necessary support of two thirds.

Addressing the council after his victory, Uysal thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his pervious services as the Istanbul mayor, which "broke ground in municipal work."

The newly elected mayor vowed to further develop the city, enhancing its role as a meet point for cultures.

Uysal, who has been serving as mayor of the Istanbul's fast developing Başakşehir district, was picked as the party's candidate after conducting tendency surveys, said Erol Kaya, the Deputy AK Party Chairman responsible for local administrations.

Istanbul's long-standing mayor Kadir Topbaş unexpectedly resigned last week after serving for 13 years.

Topbaş, an architect by profession, has been the mayor of Istanbul since 2004 and has presided over the transformation of the mega city that began under the mayorship of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Topbaş has had his fair share of criticism in the recent year after his son-in-law was accused of links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) blamed for last year's coup attempt. Recently, Topbaş was at odds with the city council over his opposition to new zoning plans for the city of 14.8 million people.

In a vague statement at a press conference last week, Topbaş announced he would step down from office though he did not give an exact reason and underlined that he would continue serving the AK Party.

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