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İstanbul mayor would leave Erdoğan behind in presidential race, survey reveals

İstanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu

If current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu were to compete in a presidential election, İmamoğlu would lead Erdoğan by five points, according to a survey conducted by the Piar polling company, the Arti Gerçek news website reported.

The survey, titled “The Political Agenda across Turkey,” was conducted in face-to-face interviews with 1,416 people in 26 Turkish provinces between Nov. 19 and 24.

The respondents were asked “For which candidate would you vote in a presidential election with only two candidates, Erdoğan and İmamoğlu?” While 44.5 percent of respondents said they would vote for İmamoğlu, only 39.7 percent said they would cast a vote for Erdoğan.

İmamoğlu was elected as İstanbul mayor from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in a repeat election in June. Although he won the first election in March, which was a local election held nationwide, against Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate, the election result in İstanbul was cancelled by the election authority due to objections from the AKP, which claimed that there were irregularities in the election.

İmamoğlu’s success and the hope and enthusiasm he generated among voters have led to comments that he could be the next president of Turkey. Erdoğan also served as İstanbul mayor between 1994 and 1998. He was first elected president in 2014 and then in 2018.

Erdoğan is criticized by many for creating a one-man rule in the country, silencing dissent and jailing his critics.

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