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İstanbul, Ankara mayoral offices may go to opposition candidates: polling companies


İstanbul and Ankara, Turkey’s biggest cities, currently governed by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayors, may be won by opposition party candidates in local elections on March 31, two polling company chairmen told Deutsche Welle Turkish service on Tuesday.

The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and İYİ (Good) Party formed an alliance for İstanbul and Ankara, nominating Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş, respectively.

The AKP’s candidate for İstanbul is former parliament speaker and the last prime minister of the Turkish Republic Binali Yıldırım. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also backs Yıldırım.

Piar polling company owner Kadir Atalay said Yıldırım was appealing to voters but that İstanbul residents felt the AKP did not keep its promises for the city. According to Atalay, the CHP-İYİ Party alliance is more successful in campaigning than the AKP-MHP alliance.

Özer Sencar from the Metropoll company also argued that almost half of MHP voters were reluctant to support the AKP’s Yıldırım, whereas İYİ Party voters were ready to vote for the CHP’s İmamoğlu.

Pollmark’s latest survey also indicated that İmamoğlu has a 2 percent lead against Yıldırım.

In Ankara, the opposition alliance nominated Mansur Yavaş, who lost to the AKP’s Melih Gökçek in the 2014 local election for Ankara mayor. Still, he had a good run and the defeat was narrow.

Since Yavaş comes from a nationalist, right-wing political tradition, polling company managers believe that even MHP voters could support him in the election.

Meanwhile Piar’s Atalay pointed out that if Yavaş won the Ankara election, it would be his success rather than that of the CHP or İYİ Party. Atalay also said Ankara voters did not know Mehmet Özhaseki, the AKP’s candidate for mayor.

Özhaseki previously served as Kayseri metropolitan mayor and later became a minister in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Cabinet.

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