Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described the opposition’s mayoral candidate in İstanbul, who won the first election on March 31, as a “lame duck” and said a repeat vote to be held this Sunday was “symbolic,” Turkish media reported on Thursday.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu was elected İstanbul mayor in the March 31 polls in İstanbul, taking control of Turkey’s financial powerhouse after 25 years of rule by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its predecessors. His term as mayor lasted only 18 days as the Supreme Election Council annulled the results of the vote over an appeal filed by the AKP citing irregularities in the election.
Erdoğan said on Thursday that public surveys showing İmamoğlu ahead of AKP mayoral candidate Binali Yıldırım were conducted based on “orders” from the CHP. He said the actual public survey will be held on Sunday.
Calling İmamoğlu a “lame duck,” Erdoğan said: “In the election to be held on Sunday, the result [showing the AKP’s success] will clearly emerge and the final decision will be made on that day. That decision will be accepted by us. This is a symbolic election at the end of the day.”
In the run-up to the March 31 elections, Erdoğan vigorously campaigned for his party and sometimes held more than one election rally in a single day. Some attributed the AKP’s loss of votes on March 31 to Erdoğan playing a more active role than the mayoral candidates during the campaign.