Erdoğan announces Yıldırım as ruling party's mayoral candidate for Istanbul
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced the ruling Justice and Development Party’s mayoral candidates for Istanbul for March 31 local elections with a list headed by Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım.
Erdoğan revealed the metropolitan mayoral candidate, as well as the names of each candidate from all Istanbul districts, at a special ceremony held in Istanbul on Dec. 29.
As expected, former prime minister Yıldırım will be the mayoral candidate of the ruling party, Erdoğan said, stressing that his party picked a party heavyweight for Istanbul to show the importance of the title.
"I owe more service to this city. We will work hard and we will succeed together," Yıldırım said in his own speech, after Turkish president added that the "biggest political threat for Istanbul is [the main opposition Republican People's Party] CHP."
Mevlüt Uysal, the former mayor of Istanbul's Başakşehir district and now the incumbent metropolitan mayor, has been nominated from the city's western district of Büyükçekmece.
Another highlight in the list was Murat Aydın, the incumbent mayor of Zeytinburnu district, who was nominated on Dec. 29 for Beykoz district. "Our mission is to entrust the title to the most qualified person," Erdoğan said to explain the switch, voicing his belief that Aydın "will be as successful in Beykoz as he was in Zeytinburnu."
The ruling party previously declared two strong names for the capital Ankara and Turkey’s third largest province İzmir, former ministers Mehmet Özhaseki and Nihat Zeybekci respectively.
The CHP had nominated Ekrem İmamoğlu, the mayor of Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district, to run for Istanbul province in the upcoming local elections in March 2019.
As part of a political alliance, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will support the AKP's metropolitan mayoral candidates in Istanbul and Ankara, as well as many other districts throughout the country.
In Istanbul, the ruling AKP did not nominate any candidate in Maltepe, Beşiktaş and Silivri districts to support the MHP candidate as part of the alliance, according to Erdoğan's Dec. 29 statement.
The two parties had established the “People’s Alliance” for the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, for which the MHP had not introduced a presidential nominee and instead endorsed Erdoğan’s candidacy. The two parties had also cooperated in the April 2017 referendum, in which the MHP supported the AKP’s “yes” vote for constitutional amendments.