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AKP’s new campaign strategy for İstanbul re-run election targets 1.7 million non-voters

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The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has devised a new campaign strategy in advance of a mayoral election to be held again in İstanbul, according to the Hürriyet daily, targeting the nearly 1.7 million people who failed to vote in the first local election on March 31.

After losing the March 31 election in İstanbul by a thin-razor margin, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party submitted a number of objections to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) for cancellation of the vote.

On Monday the YSK ruled to cancel the results and announced a new election for İstanbul’s mayoral post to be held on June 23.

President Erdoğan had personally campaigned across Turkey for the local elections, stressing that an opposition alliance was ordered by terrorist groups and that the only viable option for the country’s future was the ruling party and its nationalist ally.

This time he has suggested a more positive campaign aimed at reaching ordinary people in İstanbul, holding small gatherings instead of huge rallies, the report said.

AKP management believes some 70 percent of the 1.7 million who failed to vote were actually part of its grass roots.

During Ramadan, an Islamic holy month when Muslims fast, President Erdoğan will visit homes to break his fast in order to send a more positive message.

According to many observers, opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu’s success on March 31 was largely based on inclusive campaigning that even convinced AKP voters to support his mayoral bid.

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