CHP reveals Istanbul, Ankara mayoral candidates for local elections
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has nominated Ekrem İmamoğlu, the mayor of Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district, to run for Istanbul province in the upcoming local elections in March 2019, while announcing Mansur Yavaş, a former CHP mayoral candidate for 2014 elections, to run for Ankara, the country’s capital city.
The two names were voted in at a parliament assembly meeting on Dec. 18.
Yavaş and İmamoğlu will be endorsed by İYİ (Good) Party as part of an alliance between the two parties.
İYİ Party had announced it would support the CHP’s candidates in the country’s two largest provinces in the local elections.
Kılıçdaroğlu previously praised İmamoğlu for being “hardworking” and conducting “successful work” for Beylikdüzü district.
“He is a friend who knows the problems of Istanbul and is ambitious in solving these problems,” the CHP leader said, stressing that İmamoğlu had “written success stories as a mayor.”
In his most recent interview with the daily Hürriyet, İmamoğlu had said Istanbul needed a road map for its future development. He stressed the residents of Istanbul were “not happy living in this mega city and the province should be made ‘people-friendly.’”
Yavaş’s potential nomination was criticized by some CHP members as he is not officially a member of the party and has a background in right-wing nationalist politics. But the support he is set to receive from İYİ Party, also a nationalist party, is expected to higher his chances for the CHP candidate in his race for the capital city.
In earlier comments when asked about a potential nomination, Yavaş had said he did not “carry the badge” of a political party for his candidacy, signaling his desire for a joint nomination of İYİ Party and the CHP. His comments had displeased some CHP members.
“Yavaş is an important figure in politics. I speak to him from time to time. He is a popular name within our circle, too,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in October.
Yavaş, a former member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), was nominated as the CHP’s Ankara candidate for the March 20, 2014 local elections. He ultimately lost narrowly to ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate Melih Gökçek in a controversial voting process. The CHP appealed to Ankara’s district election boards over voting irregularities but the board dismissed all applications.
Meanwhile, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has still not announced its candidate for Istanbul, despite revealing Mehmet Özhaseki for Ankara. Parliament speaker Binali Yıldırım is expected to be the nominee of the ruling party.