Published On: Sun, Jun 23rd, 2019

How Turkey came to 23 June Istanbul Municipal Elections and the outcome



Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, which is beyond dispute the largest city with unparalleled economy (and opportunities, it goes without saying) lived through municipal elections on 31 March 2019. Contrary to all expectations, the opposition candidate EKREM IMAMOGLU, the candidate for opposition managed to defeat BINALI YILDIRIM, former and last PM and the candidate of the ruling party, albeit with a small margin.

Having said this, we need to note that the ruling party (certainly ERDOGAN) used almost every possible opportunity provided by the state to ensure their candidate could beat IMAMOGLU, the opposition candidate. However, the result did not turn out to their expectations after which they started putting pressure on YSK (Supreme Election Board) based on several points violating the rules etc. YSK which refused most of the allegations (claims by the ruling party) eventually agreed that irregular appointment of some polling station officials could have affected election results and voted for a redo of the mayoral electionwhich received an immense amount of criticism from the public in general and opinion leaders etc.

This was a great hope for the ruling party and its LEADER to defeat the opponent and recapture Istanbul which has always been vital for continuation of his political power as it accounts for a third of Turkey’s economy with lucrative contract opportunities and all.

However, despite all efforts and disproportionate usage of state power all along the campaign (not to forget the unbelievable smear campaign conducted against their opponent) to ensure a victory for his candidate for the redo election on 23 June 2019, it seems Turkey’s President might not be happy with the results to come out as IMAMOGLU has won an unexpected popularity of citizens of Istanbul (as well as all over Turkey as new hope for opposition against current president in presidential election to be held in 2023) and today opinion polls show IMAMOGLU ahead by about two points (percent), and this time he owes most of this increase to “his ouster after just 18 days in office, when electoral officials decided that irregular appointment of some polling station officials may have skewed the result”.

During his brief time in office IMAMOGLU shared he had discovered that the AKP-run municipality had wasted public money on places not to the benefit of citizens such as rented cars, consultants and some foundations run by people close to Turkey’s president at a time when Turkey has been trying to cope with an inflation of over 20 percent and unemployment of 14 percent (based on date provided by Turkish Statistical Institute).

As to the impacts of the results to come many political opinion leaders and experts note a second defeat for the ruling party could accelerate the decline of AK party and its invincible leader who has won all elections during his political service and open a new window in Turkey’s politics. A new beginning after which the political rise (power) of Turkey’s President will have ended and people will start talking about the post-Erdoğan era. The reason is Istanbul is considered to be Turkey’s powerhouse and as Erdogan once said “Whoever wins Istanbul wins Turkey”.

For further and much more detailed reading we would strongly suggest you take a look at below link.
Istanbul voters turn out for mayoral election rerun as Erdogan bids to reverse defeat in Turkey’s largest city

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