The Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party has decided to continue its support for Ekrem İmamoğlu, the mayoral candidate of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in İstanbul, in a new election to be held in the city on June 23, the Birgün daily reported on Thursday.
İmamoğlu was elected mayor on March 31 but was forced to step down by the Supreme Election Board (YSK), which in a controversial move on Monday decided to re-run the mayoral election in İstanbul.
The YSK announced its 7-4 decision due to allegations of electoral fraud and irregularities after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the race in İstanbul.
The HDP made its decision at a meeting of the party’s Central Decision and Management Board (MKYK) and agreed to support İmamoğlu under the “İstanbul alliance.”
Some party deputies will stay in İstanbul and coordinate election campaign work for the new election.
Since the YSK decision coincided with news about a prison visit by the lawyers of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), for the first time in eight years, there were rumors that the AKP collaborated with Öcalan to prevent HDP support for the CHP candidate in the İstanbul mayoral election.
The HDP did not field its own candidate in the city on March 31 and supported İmamoğlu after a call from the party’s jailed former co-chairperson, Selahattin Demirtaş.