Turkey’s opposition has good chance of winning capital in local elections: pollster

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The headquarters of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality.

Murat Pösteki, director general of the ORC polling company, has suggested that the opposition candidate for mayor of the capital city of Ankara has a substantial chance of defeating the nominee from the ruling party in local elections scheduled for March 31, the Memurlar.net website reported on Friday.

Mehmet Özhaseki, candidate for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), suffers from a lack of popularity in Ankara, and the projects he has unveiled have failed to generate interest among the voter base in the Turkish capital, according to the head of ORC, which is known to be close to the AKP.

Describing the voters in Ankara as predominantly conservative and nationalist, Pösteki pointed out that Mansur Yavaş’s previous candidacies from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Republican People’s Party (CHP) received 26 and 43 percent of the vote, respectively.

Although the nationalist MHP is cooperating with the governing AKP in what’s referred to as the Public Alliance (Cumhur İttifakı), a significant part of its voter base in Ankara, according to Pösteki, is showing signs of a tendency to favor Yavaş, who had stressed his nationalist background even when a candidate for the CHP.

Yavaş is the candidate for the Nation Alliance (Millet İttifakı), formed against the Public Alliance by the CHP and İYİ (Good) Party, another nationalist party established in 2017 by politicians who quit the MHP.

ORC has revealed that Yavaş polls at 41.9 percent in Ankara, five points ahead of Özhaseki, while 19 percent of the voters remain undecided.

Pösteki further claimed that Özhaseki is receiving inaccurate poll results that show him ahead of his rival and therefore is unaware of the realities on the ground, which leads him to behave in a too relaxed a manner, with his opponents considering him a sitting target. The psychological superiority belongs to Yavaş’s campaign, and Özhaseki will probably fail to win the mayoralty, according to the pollster.

With respect to the race for mayor in İstanbul, Pösteki predicted a close finish while suggesting that the AKP candidate Binali Yıldırım seems two or three points ahead of his CHP-nominated rival, Ekrem İmamoğlu.

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