İmamoğlu launches campaign for İstanbul mayoral rerun
Ekrem İmamoğlu, the main opposition’s candidate for the municipal elections in İstanbul that will be rerun on June 23, has launched his campaign, promising to end waste and make better use of the city’s resources.
İmamoğlu from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) had claimed victory in the mayor’s race for Turkey’s largest city and economic hub during the March 31 elections, but his mayoral certificate was revoked by the Supreme Election Council (YSK) on May 6.
İmamoğlu kicked off his new mayoral campaign at a meeting yesterday where he blamed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for having wasted the resources of the city.
“We will end this waste system, which only benefits a tiny minority,” he said.
The metropolitan municipality’s debt between 2014 and 2019 increased 4.5 times from 6 billion Turkish Liras to 27.5 billion liras, according to the Court of Accounts (Sayıştay), said İmamoğlu. Meanwhile, the municipality’s budget deficit grew twentyfold in five years from 216 million to 4 billion liras.
“Eighty million liras were spend for the website of the municipality,” said İmamoğlu, arguing all of the country’s municipalities’ websites could be set up with this amount of money. He also claimed 266 million liras were earmarked for projects and ideas that never materialized.
“Isn’t it a big waste, money spilled to the air; isn’t a big sin?” he asked a jam-packed audience of his supporters as well as party officials.
“We will definitely change this waste and plunder system,” said İmamoğlu, adding that during the course of the 18 days when he worked as mayor, he succeeded to “say stop” to the “waste system.”
“We changed the course of the water and started to channel the resources towards the citizens,” he said.
For instance, during his short tenure, he introduced a proposal to decrease water prices under which each citizen living in İstanbul will save 540 liras annually.